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« Mixed Messages | Main | Suzuki Instruction and Child-Led Learning »

September 06, 2007



Thank you so much for writing this. It really spoke to me in a way I needed to hear at a time when I needed to hear it.


Bravo! This brings to mind an encounter I had in a bookstore with a wise older mother. The woman noticed the book on potty training in my arms and said "How old is your daughter? 2 1/2? Can I give you some advice? Don't expect anything until she is at least 3 years old and maybe 4 years old. You will all be happier."
I thought of that woman a lot as I wondered when my daughter would read. She loved to snuggle and read with me and her dad for hours, but phonics meant nothing to her. She would have very rare moments when she would write a word or recognize a word.
Whenever I had doubts, I would continue to read more to her: chapter books, animal guidebooks, magazine articles, etc. My daughter was also extremely driven to climb the monkey bars at this time. Hand over hand, she would do this for hours. I had heard right/left alternating motion is good for reading, (and it's lots of fun!) so we spent many hours at the playground.
Then about 2 weeks before her 7th birthday she started to read. She took in whole words and never did sound them out. The change was abrupt and her abilities increased quickly and exponentially. Her teacher came to me and said "I thought you said she couldn't read." and I said "two weeks ago, she couldn't."
I remembered my experiences in first and second grade. At 6, I was identified as "slow". I turned 7 at the beginning of second grade and, like my daughter, I learned to read suddenly.
I firmly believe that a large part of learning to read is brain readiness, and that some of that is genetic. My daughter's closest friend did not reach that point until she was 9 1/2. They homeschool and a large part of their days are filled with books on tape and "snuggle and read" time. She too was a "sudden reader" and is lugging around thick chapter books with great delight now. Her mom is a testimony to the benefits of patience and faith (and homeschooling). This very bright girl would definitely have been labeled and given "remedial" work in a school.
I know my daughter was not a super "late" reader, but had she been in second grade instead of first grade at the time, she likely would have been labeled as such.
My daughter is almost eleven now. Writing this has been good for me, as she has been reluctant to write up until 2 weeks ago, and now she is eager and motivated. I need to apply the lessons to this latest skill.
Thanks for your patience with this long comment. Your post awakened a lot of memories.

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