It started at some point near the middle of last year. I would be on the computer and HD would come up behind me and read aloud a word he picked out on my screen, over my shoulder. It might be “tree” or “the” in a song title, or something I was looking at on Facebook, but each time it surprised and entertained me to see the words he knew without having them read/said to him first. I mean, we read to our kids, but not what I would call excessively (says the girl who has read 60+ books this year, so maybe my perception is skewed), and we weren’t actively trying to teach Harrison to read so each time this happened it was just a pleasant, voluntary experience.
In March of this year, I took a video of him reading Oh the Places You’ll Go in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and yes, he read the whole darn thing, and kept going, even when he made mistakes (good practice for a firstborn perfectionist at heart), but he’s heard that book many times and has the memory of an elephant. I wasn’t sure how much he was “reading” and how much he was reciting.
Then, this summer, he pulled the same over-the-shoulder trick with me, this time with an actual book as I was reading in my bed one afternoon, and this I knew was legit because he read an entire line that he’d never heard read aloud. I was so tickled by the event that I snapped a pic of the page to commemorate his first solo read-aloud sentence. I know. I am a total word nerd mother. I own it. Here is the line (and no, he did not get the name “Clark” quite right, but c’mon – it still counts):
So, yes. Hints and evidence of Harrison reading. Pretty cool.
Just this last week, Ben and I learned more when we attended his first-ever Kindergarten conference. His classroom teacher told us that from Day One he’s been reading signage in their room that surprised her (complicated words; not really meant for the kids to just read on their own, especially at this point in the year) and he’s showing no signs of stopping.
In fact, he read, unprompted and without being read the list first, the entire year’s list of sight/high frequency words, too. Quarter One has maybe four or five words on it (each Quarter increases quite a bit in volume to end up being 30-40ish words long). OK, he missed “a” but again – it totally counts in my book (which may be why I am word and not a number person). The whole darn list! Go, HD!
And so. Now what? Well, we see where he goes. We continue to read with him, of course, and we also encourage and challenge him to read to us, or to his sibs. We did just that the other night before bed and he read this little rhyming Lego book to the whole family:
Sweet Boy was so proud when he was finished!
From here we also give thanks for the work of his teacher and her efforts to encourage and challenge him, too. How fortunate for him to be in a situation where he can have some enrichment time to keep him engaged and learning instead of distracted (and distracting). Granted, there is no way to know at what point his reading level might level out, but if reading continues to make his heart sing like it did the other night or when I asked him to read the sight word list to me at home, then we will gladly keep it up! Maybe next year I’ll have to keep track of his titles read, too. 😉