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January 5th, 2019

early reading

Olive is midway through kindergarten and has really taken into reading lately. It is the most wonderful adorable thing to see and just melts my heart! It kind of caught me off guard when she started sounding out words, she started the year knowing her ABCs and writing her name and some letter sounds. Then she had her sight words that she was very excited about, telling us all about THE and AND and LIKE. Then I saw her sounding out words to write them. She made her dad a note that said "YUR SO OSOM" and he framed it.

So I combed through the house to find Josie's old BOB books and Olive and I had a perfect evening plowing through the stack, she treated them like little puzzles and loved sounding out the words and was so proud of herself that she could read real books. Grandma's house had more bob books. Then we went to the library and found the learning to read section and she read all about "Big Dog and Little Dog", and "I Like Bugs". She'd sometimes struggle and get frustrated with new words, but then she'd get them and the next night we'd read the same books again and they were already familiar and she'd breeze through them. So what does that mean? Back to the library! Again and again, and she's sounding out "Acrobat" by herself in the back seat of the car with her new books.

Everything kids do is zero to 60, and you never know when, and you try to keep up. Both my babies learned to walk the same way. Josie was barely 10 months old, Olive was 14 months, but it didn't matter, they both took 2-3 steps in a row and we were so excited, then we counted five steps in a row, then nine, then we lost count, then laps around the house, all within like a two week period. Something clicks and they're off. Josie rode her bike the same way. Anything you try to count, you soon can't. You catch them, encourage them, celebrate the milestone, then it's over.

This month made me think a lot about kids and books and privilege. I've read to Olive since she was an infant. I dropped everything when she started sounding out words to find those bob books I knew we had. already had a library card because I'm a reader, so we could immediately get a stack of books at just the right level, challenging but not too challenging. It made me think of the story of few years back of the mailman in utah who asked for books for the 12 year old boy on his route. he saw the boy reading the junk mail thrown out by his apartment mailboxes, and he asked the postman if there was more because he liked to read, didn't have books so he was just picking up advertisements. It makes me think of little girls in countries where girls don't go to school, or generations where literacy rates were down under 50%. Olive loves to read so much, and it's such a foundation for everything else to learn about in life.

Also, I just finished Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It was beautiful, slow and fast at the same time, and it was about people following the path set out for them. Even if it's not a fair path, even if they're curious about other options in life, you just don't break out for whatever reason, it's too hard when you were never given freedom from the start. It was a beautiful story. Maybe I will buy a copy, I'm sure someday Olive will read it.