Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lily's Learning to Read

Lily and MeI've been through the kindergarten thing three times already--not to sound cocky or anything--and I've got the drill down pretty well by now. So it was no surprise when Lillian told me over Christmas that in January she would be bringing books home from school to read.

Tradition says that during the first semester the children learn their phonograms then in January they start putting the sounds together and reading easy books. I have to confess that with my older children it was always a bit of a chore to labor with them over their books every day, they didn't catch on as fast as I would have liked and reading together never seemed to come at a convenient time.

But when Lillian told me that she had her little book bag with the latest riveting edition of I Am Not Shade it wasn't the same at all, suddenly I realized that the number of times my child would come to me asking for a story were finite, that this was the last time I'd get to teach a little child of mine to read.

The house was quiet with everyone gone to school or work and when I opened the curtains it was still black and cold outside. We pulled the big leather chair close to the fireplace where it was warm and bright and she sat on my lap to open her first book.

"See Mat," she read slowly and haltingly, forming sounds and making the sound+sound=word connection. Page by page we went until half way through she turned to look at me and said in a voice full of amazement, "I can read! I can read books!" She giggled and hugged herself in her excitement and I hugged her tight and thought about how good she smelled--still with a hint of baby there somewhere.

We read I Am Not Shade six times before she was ready to stop. Every day now we drop off the others at school, head home, pull the chair close to the fire and crack open the magic book bag to see what's she's got to read that day.

It's easy to think that Andrew's corporate life is exciting and enviable but you can't tell me that any of his experiences can compare with the pleasure that comes from seeing a little mind opening to the written word for the first time. And I almost missed it.

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If you're up for a double dose Scribbit, I'm guest posting this week over at Design Mom, a terrific blog that you won't want to miss. See you there!

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Congratulations to Michael from Whittier, California for winning this weekend's giveaway. He's won the beautiful Chinese New Year pyramid bag from Gochemoche--but don't give up, there are more giveaways coming every Saturday.

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44 comments:

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Michelle,
Nothing beats teaching your kindergarten kid to read. The reading lesson is both rewarding to the kid and her mother. That's first class bonding. You seem to be having a grand time in Alaska. Thanks for the wonderful post. God bless you and your family always.

Robin said...

What a beautiful post - a big woohoo, to BOTH of you.

Erica Douglas said...

aargh that bought a tear to my eye- I need to savour it with Erin, just in case it's the first and last time :)

littlemummy.com

grace said...

Nothing beats those precious moments at home!

SudsMuffin said...

That's so sweet. What a beautiful memory for you, though I have to admit that I'm completely envious of your leather chair and roaring fireplace.

luvmy4sons said...

Awwwh. It is so exciting when they learn to read. Precious post!

Edi said...

The way I figure it - once children learn to read, the hardest (educational) work is over!

My dd pretty much taught herself to read at a young age, so when it came to teaching my ds to read I was apprehensive. I wasn't sure I could do it (we homeschool). It just seemed like a hard thing for the teacher (me!).

I was so excited when he started to read and I realized "it's working!"

The whole concept of reading is hard to comprehend - just like babies learning to talk without being "taught". Their little brains ARE programmed for this.

And the best part - reading opens up a whole world for the kids to explore on their own.

Jen@BigBinder said...

What an absolutely lovely post. My oldest starts kindergarten next year so I am looking forward to these moments. Thanks for reminding me that when the moments turn into hours I could be 'doing something else' - to sit tight because they are times that come and go quickly.

Melissa Markham said...

My most favorite part of teaching my children has been when they have learned to read. It's fabulous!

chelle said...

I am so not ready to let them go and grow up! I feel so fortunate that I get to experience their world everyday! It is my dream job :) Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

Irene said...

So true. Once in a while, I get that sorry-for-me overwhelmed feeling that comes with the 24/7 job of a SAHM. But then there are those moments, that you realize if weren't always there, you would miss.

Great post and beautiful picture!

The Source said...

What wonderful moments with your youngest daughter. I find that those special times seemed to slip by much faster with my oldest...or maybe I appreciate now just how quickly they really do grow up.

Congratulations to Lily on learning to read! That's a huge accomplishment for such a small girl! May you always find joy in a good book.

Beth said...

What a beautiful post. My son will be in kindergarten next year and I am excited about helping him learn to read.

I'm AZ said...

That's a beautiful photo! Gosh, this post clues me in to what's ahead for me. My son is 3 so in another year and a half he'll be learning to read...

Cagey said...

Beautiful post, beautiful photo.

I thought I was going to soar to the moon when my son first recognized a word a few months back. Swoon. I can't imagine how I will feel when he reads his first book. I have been collecting children's books since my Single Girl days in excited anticipation that I would someday have a child to whom I could read them.

This morning, as I was in bed with my baby girl, watching her play with her toy and babble, I thought "Wow, I am WORKING HARD over here. Squee!" :-)

Babystepper said...

That is a wonderful feeling.

Yeah Lillian! (When are you going to pull out the Nancy Drew?)

Mercy's Maid said...

How sweet! May she always be excited about reading!

Maddy said...

Yes it's moments like these that make you realize that that other parent is really dipping out, it just isn't the same when you explain.
Best wishes

JAM said...

A magical time. I still remember reading with our girls. They thought it was so cool for Lovely Wife or me to climb into bed with them and read a little more at the end of each day. It was a big deal for them to select books to read in bed and then they'd sleep with them like stuffed animals.

At 19 and 22, they both still love to read.

Cocoa said...

This is one of my favorite things about being a mother - seeing my children's minds click when they are learning to read. It opens up a whole new world for them!

angie said...

I, too, have a kindergartner, and I love to see her learn to read, step by step. I think I'm just going to sit down and cry when my twins learn how to read and I realize those times will be gone......thank goodness I still have 3 left that need to learn! :)

The Preacher's Wife said...

What a priceless moment...my youngest daughter begins kindergarten in the fall and I'm already weepy over this season of having toddlers at home coming to an end. :(

Where one ends, however, another begins. I can't imagine what I'll do with my days when I'm kidless!

Lisa

Kelly @ Love Well said...

So sweet. I love reminders like this.

Now, I think it's time for me to get off the computer and lose myself in some Play-Dough with my son.

the mama bird diaries said...

I am always stunned when a child (that I knew as a baby) starts learning to read. It's just this amazing, beautiful, incredible thing. My eldest is 3 1/2 and it's hard to believe that one day soon I'll be teaching her.

Thanks for this beautiful post.

Valerie said...

Beautiful post, beautiful picture.

Laura said...

I too have a kindergartner and we have been doing our reading time together, thanks for making it seem more precious and helping me remember how quickly time passes.

Daisy said...

Sniff. Sniff. I love it when the light goes on, but even more I loved that feeling of snuggling up together with a book. Heck, I still like sitting down with my teen and reading together!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Beautiful reflection! I am on my first child learning to read and it has been a beautiful and fun thing to watch. This AM she brought in "The foot book" by Dr. Suess and said, "I can read all of it except one word, mom." Then we snuggled up and read it together. Nothing beats it!

Michelle A. said...

Wow, what a great post Michelle! And what a beautiful picture. I have to say I'm a bit jealous - my girls are in french immersion here in Montreal and they neither write or read in french or english - I'm pretty upset about my choice to put them in a french school. But, the schools in french are better than the schools in english - a total government conspiracy! Anyway, lovely story, and I'm sure there will eventually be some progress :)

Phyllis Sommer said...

so sweet and beautiful. brought tears to my eyes. my son is also learning to read and i find it such a joy. luckily he still asks me to read to him, which i hope we will continue... enjoy the magic!

Leslie said...

Oh, I just loved this. Beautiful post!

Lis Garrett said...

I've got tears in my eyes because this brings back memories of when Hannah was in kindergarten and, out of of blue, picked up a book and began reading it. I was astonished, completely stunned! And now Jacob is beginning to put together sounds and spell small words. :-)

Congrats to Lily!!

MommyTime said...

This was beautiful. Reading is magical. Thank you.

Theresa said...

I'm very excited for my chance to do this. Thanks for the lovely homage and the inspiration. You're bringing motherhood back into the vocational ring.

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Oh how sweet... It felt so strange when Abby started reading last fall - and now even Hannah's picking it up as well. Now I understand the bittersweet aspect of it... :)

Lisa said...

Yeay. What a great post. SO happy for your and your adoreable little reader!

len20 said...

"They grow up so fast." It takes being a parent for this saying to stop being cliche.

I've been a father for only eight weeks, and I've already come to appreciate those five words in a totally new way.

Loralee Choate said...

I've totally wondered about the difference in knowing you are raising your last. I think if we decide to have another baby, a lot of the things I found burdensome would be more of a joy.

tjhirst said...

I've been reading your blog for about a month and haven't commented, yet. Shame on me, right? I couldn't resist thanking you for this one. Reading is the way I connect with my kids. It is so personal when it is one-on-one. Thanks for your thoughts and the beautiful image as you teach your last reader. I am feeling some of those same things as my last one moves along.

wayabetty said...

That is truly precious!! I share the same experience as you with my 3rd child, Sophia. At 2.5 y/o, she loves books and every morning...we can't leave her room unless I read to her or she'll "read for you mommy". Even though she can't read it but she sure has a great memory.

And at night time, she has to sleep with at least 4 books in her crib, even though the lights are off, but I can still hear her trying to recite one of the books (in her jibberish) at night. Love it!

Diane said...

Such a lovely post, and a beautiful photo! You should frame that one if you haven't already. Reading is a big deal around my house, as we're floor to ceiling in books. I hope to instill the love of reading in my son too.

bleeding espresso said...

Aw, warm fuzzies all around :)

my4kids said...

I felt the same way with Madison learning to read starting last year and am soaking it up now that I am homeschooling her. I know what you mean though it was almost a chore with the other 3 but with her I kind of realize this will be the last chance I get to help teach her to read and write.

Character Education said...

Look at her she is so cute. i remembered the day she my son start reading his story book and he was reading the things in a manner that i looks like some thing very delicious is coming out of his mouith.

God Bless you Both.