Around here, we try not to distinguish between pre-reading (looking at books, telling stories from the pictures, etc.) and “real” reading (decoding text and extracting meaning from it). After all, those are all on a continuum and part of the same learning process. It’s important to me that we value all of those steps along the way.
But it’s hard not to be excited as the transition into actually reading text starts to happen. Books are such a huge part of our family life, and give us so much joy. I’ve already had the pleasure of watching one of my girls turn into a reader, and it’s fun seeing the next one follow in her footsteps.
With Maggie, I spent much of her early life automatically assessing her skills and knowledge, and trying to provide her with support and stimulation to keep moving forward. With Anna, I’m still so often trying to keep my head above water that she has received much less scaffolding for her learning. Having an older sister, she probably lives in a more stimulating environment overall, but there has (understandably) just been less individualized attention in all areas.
One of the results of this has been that Anna keeps surprising me. We didn’t ever specifically given attention to learning letters, but one day I realized that she knew them all. Same with numbers. And early addition and subtraction. And, it turns out–reading. It’s such a powerful demonstration of the ways that kids naturally learn so much when they are in a rich environment.
This morning’s surprise? I walked toward the family room and saw the floor strewn with books.
Now, this in and of itself it not an unusual sight. More unusual was Anna sitting in a chair, reading book after book aloud to herself.
So as Steve and I puttered about the kitchen, we were serenaded by that sweet voice reading one book after another, adding to the pile on the floor as she went.
It can be hard sometimes to see my baby getting bigger and bigger, but moments like this make it easier. Let the reading adventures begin!