never memorized what 7+5 equals, but if I do something stupid and turn him off regarding reading, well, that would be just tragic. I may never recover. (Please hear SOME of my sarcasm here. Some.)
By the grace of God, he showed some interest a couple of weeks ago and I pulled out One Fish, Two Fish...... you know, that one. Pie. Easy. Wow. Since then, he has started trying to read words wherever he finds them. Now, he’s been doing that for a year or more but not when the words are all strung together in sentence form. The letters he now sees finally form fluent sounds in his brain and hit the air as actual words and not staccato vowel/consonant sounds. I remember being amazed when it happened to Julia. Words for which I knew we had studied no phonogram or “rule” would just roll off her tongue. When it is solely your responsibility to pass this milestone, there is call for celebration.
I had been saving a book for quite some time for this very occasion-- the occasion of his walking, no jogging, down the well-worn path of all the sounds, letters, words and stories he has heard from infancy. All the day, the book was in plain sight, wrapped only to create curiosity and a tad of anticipation. Of course, all day several times that day, he had to know whose it was and when did he get to open it. “Tonight. Just me and you. On the couch.”
All day I was a bit nervous about his reaction. I know this kid. He’s the one that caused me to come up with the brilliant idea of serving up very hot or very cold drinks for reading time. (Last WAY longer) He’s the one who always feels the thickness of the right side of the book in my lap trying to calculate how much longer he has to suffer. He’s the one who can find 27 different ways to sit by me while we read. He’s the one who never can seem to get the blanket “just right” and seems to be wrestling with an octopus under it while we read. But he’s also the one I’ve seen show strong emotion when he sat still long enough for the story to lodge in his heart.
Once on the couch that night, he unwrapped the book. “The Adventures of Little Bear” by Else Holmelund Minarik. His first reactions were to the fact that it was a hardback book-- a semi-thick one at that. He turned it over and over, flipped the pages as his dimple “dimped”. Suddenly, he started scooting off the couch yelling for Julia. “Look! Julia, look! I’ve got a big book like you read!!” With a smile that could possibly depict everything sweet and thrilling about childhood, he held it proudly in front of his chest for her to see. She must have gotten a little too close. In an instant, the sparkling grin vanished and he shot his eyes over at me, “It’s MINE right, Momma?”
Of the five timeless chapters that hadn’t changed since I was six, he read the first one. His smile came back. He was proud. He could read.
Now, if we could just do something about the “Captain Jack Sparrow” base running.......