Learning to read

Thursday night was pretty typical for us. T had just taken a bath and I was hanging out on my computer, working on a post for Magenta Scribe. After his bath, he crawled onto the bed where I was working and took out the book we’d read the night before. I told him we would read again at bedtime, but I was finishing up something so I didn’t want to read just then. He said, “That’s okay. I’m just going to read it myself.”

T has been able to sound out words for quite a while now. He reads, but it’s mostly through sounding out letters and then taking a guess based on what the story is about or what’s in the picture. My mom has gotten him several easy reader books over time, and he loves to sound out words. Even when we are driving down the street, he is sounding out the words on the billboards and street signs. He’s pretty good.

Thursday night, as I’m trying to write a post and not really paying attention to anything, else, he starts reading. He worked his way through a book that has 50 different words, just by sounding out the letters.

And then I found two books that had gotten lost in his massive book collection. Two books that I had never read to him before. Two books that he couldn’t have possibly memorized.

He read them. Slowly, for sure. But he read every word in those two books.

I’m over here, just bursting with pride.

I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am.

T has always been pretty independent when it comes to learning new skills.

When he was much younger, I didn’t do a lot of coaching in the crawling and walking stages. Then, when it came time for potty training, I tried every trick in the book (well, almost). Once I let go, he decided one day that he was just going to start going in the potty. It still took a while before he was doing it every time, but I still say he potty trained himself.

He looks at the world around him, and he learns from it. He doesn’t want to sit down and practice his letters with me coaching. He wants to have words in front of him to copy. He wants to look at his toys and draw them as he sees them. He doesn’t want someone hovering over him, telling him the right way to do something. He wants to figure it out for himself.

Now that he can read (and I’m sure the books will get longer very quickly), that world’s worth of stuff to figure out is only going to expand.

He loves reading. He loves learning.

It is only when I stand aside that this child truly flourishes.

And I’m okay with that.

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