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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.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2019 02:42 am (UTC)
"YUR SO OSOM" is the best note ever.
Jan. 6th, 2019 07:17 am (UTC)
We read to the children every night and they invariably beg for more stories. My eldest has taken to staying up to read additional stories to herself. The younger one often emulates her even though he can't read yet.
Jan. 6th, 2019 02:09 pm (UTC)
Never Let Me Go is one of my favorite books. I read one other Ishiguro book that I liked, but that one, I love. BTW, the movie, with Carey Mulligan, is actually worth watching, and that is from someone who actively avoids movies and tV made from books I like. The movie captures the slow sadness of the book very well. If you like shortish thoughtful books, I'd recommend On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan; it has a little of the same feel, but it is realistic.

Our daughter Honora taught herself to read using Tristan's BOB books as well. I didn't love the BOB books, but hey, they're not meant to be exciting literature! It is very exciting, though, to watch, esp if you love reading yourself; welcome to the club! The first thing I heard Honora read was the cardboard carrying box of a set of Girl Scout cookies we'd bought; she was sounding out "no artificial flavors."

Did you know: the reason people read so naturally is that reading takes advantage of a sigil-recognition function of the brain that was used by our hunter-gatherer ancestors to recognize prey and signs of prey? It took not much repurposing to move from recognizing the two lines that represent a gazelle's head above the long grass to recognizing the two lines that mean "T."

Jan. 6th, 2019 03:03 pm (UTC)
We used to get children's books in the mail and later, my parents had a subscription to Readers Digest that I just read to pieces over and over. The variety was compelling for me for some reason.

Dolly Parton mails out books to those in need btw - https://imaginationlibrary.com/
Jan. 6th, 2019 05:47 pm (UTC)
Our county this academic year started a volunteer reading program - where we volunteer to read to children in schools that have a greater need. So, for the first time, I was able to go read a book to a child in another school and it was mindblowing how privileged my daughter is - she is a bookworm and reads till bedtime and wakes up and reads. Our big battle is to tell her to stop reading!! She comes home from her school, class, public library with a total of 20 books a week!! And here I am reading to a child whose parents are working 3 jobs to make ends meet and doesn't have someone to read a book to them. The gap between this child and mine is so huge just because I was able to read to my child from birth EVERY day! And we have the time to go to the library. And they are under 9 years of age!! Our public libraries have started mobile-libraries - where they do little pop-ups in various neighbourhoods.

But our elementary schools are working hard to make reading fun, and are trying ways to help reduce that gap. I absolutely have fallen in love with the children I get to spend some time with - even though it has been brief. They teach me so many things. And it's heartwarming to see so many parents/senior residents have volunteered that I could only go every three-four months!!
Jan. 7th, 2019 12:58 am (UTC)
What are the bob books, please?
Jan. 7th, 2019 02:51 pm (UTC)
Ah, that was probably my favorite time period, when my son was learning to read. I think reading is so important and it makes me sad that books aren't accessible to everyone.
Love Never Let Me Go, too--the movie was good also but of course not as good.
Jan. 14th, 2019 02:52 am (UTC)
this is wonderful!! :D
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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