“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” –Dr.Seuss
A huge part of our homeschooling life revolves around books. We read for exposure to new ideas, for exploring and researching topics that interest us, and of course for entertainment. We take weekly trips to the library, our favorite outing is to visit bookstores, we read countless books together daily, and both of my boys’ activity of choice is often to look at a book. Books flood our house with bookshelves around every corner and nearly every flat surface from tables to the floor is covered in books.
I am so eager and excited for Big Brother to read. Not because I’m looking to mark off on a checklist of things he should be able to do but because I feel like the ability to read opens endless doors to the world around us. I just can’t wait for him to enjoy that gift. For over a year now, Big Brother has shown all of the reading readiness signs as I had discussed in this earlier post on literacy development. While the teacher in me was itching to start reading instruction, the unschooling mom in me had to whisper, “When he’s ready, it will happen”. Despite having all the individual skills to read, I knew he just wasn’t ready. For starters, when we would try to read decodable books, there would be resistance and push back. He was able to sound out decodable words when attempted them individually, but seeing them strung together in a sentence on the page of a book he would shake his head and not want to try. I want his motivation for reading to come from within and so I backed off and decided to wait until he seemed interested.
In the last month or so, he started to bring me random books and proudly show me how he could sound out one word here and there. He was telling me that he was “getting really good a stretching out words”. And so with this spark of interest I created a game for him to play that would help him practice with simple decodable words. I placed words on paper cups that once he read, he could stack into a pyramid. After all the words were read, he enjoyed knocking them down & trying again. He was really excited by this game both because he felt pride in reading the words and because, you know, knocking stuff down is awesome.
As we played games like this, I noticed his motivation and confidence growing. It has become very clear that a light has turned on inside him and he is ready to put all of the pieces together. We have had a collection of Bob Books lying around the house for a long time. For a while, I would read them to him and he would reluctantly try to read a word or two on his own. But one day a few weeks back, Big Brother picked up a Bob Book, sat next to me on the couch and read the whole book to me. Just like that! When he finished the book, he looked up at me beaming, bursting with pride. He was so excited that he grabbed another Bob Book and then another! And since then, he reads these books to me daily. He makes more bold attempts now at reading words where ever we find them out in the world. He has begun his reading journey and we are both on cloud nine.