It worked

Those of you that stop by here regularly might remember the bookstore incident. Here's a quick recap for those that have no idea what I'm talking about: I went into a major bookstore chain to buy a classic children's novel. I wanted to start reading bigger books with Logan a chapter a night. The lady at the first store I went to scoffed at the notion based on Logan's age. (He was not quite 4 at the time.)

We wanted to move into those 'big chapter books without pictures' (as Logan will sometimes refer to them as) for a few reasons. One, he had shown the ability to comprehend the stories with a little help in a spot or two. Two, it was something I had enjoyed as a child -my Dad and I read such great books together for years! Three - Logan could already read but feared the "reading to" special time would cease once he was reading to himself on a regular basis. We wanted to read him harder books to prove a point - reading 'to' goes on it just invovles harder books. Lastly, although Logan *could* read, he didn't really know it.

Or at least he didn't realize the extent to which he could. He'd play one of his 'reading' games on the computer without help and get each excercise right nearly every time. These are games where he hears a word and has to find it, or even games when he has a blank slate to write his own words in. He'd read signs to us. He'd read labels on boxes. He just never really sat and read a book.

I said to him one day, "You know, you can read." And he replied, "I can?"

Let me stop a minute. Time to catch up to today. Last month we read Wind in the Willows. Logan would sometimes loose interest and I understand that. It's a book written long ago by a British guy who didn't meet a topic he couldn't over explain in great detail with oodles of flowery language. It can get a little too much at times. However, Logan did follow the story. Just when I think he'd be off in another world, he'd pop off a question, "Why is Badger so mean to Mr. Toad?"

He relished the moment to read our book together. When he got his birthday book (Tom Sawyer) he was more excited than he'd ever been before to get a book (which, actually says quite a lot). He couldn't wait to finish up Wind and the Willows to start in on his new story - in fact, he often tried to get me to read them both in one night.

His excitement led to something else. At first it was subtle. Slow even. As we'd read about the exploits of Toad and company he'd interupt me, "Where are you? Can you show me with your finger where you're reading?"

Then it was his books. He has a handful of reading type workbooks he picked out at the store once or twice. He started dragging them out and practicing them - Sight Words, Rhyming Words, etc. He upped the time he wanted on his reading games on the computer.

Last week it all came together. We were reading another chapter in Tom Sawyer. Logan interrupted me, "Where are you?"

I pointed to the words I was reading. I took a breathe and readied myself to begin the next paragraph, but I never got the chance.

Logan was at first whispering and then getting stronger...louder. "Buh. Uh. Tah. But. Tah-ahh-mm. Tom. But. Tom. Was. . ." and he read. He read a complete sentence written by Mark Twain needing help only with the words "uneasy," "nevertheless," and "sullenly." Who can blame him.

It wasn't the first sentence he ever read. It wasn't the first sentence he had read that week, in fact. (That very morning he was playing his Clifford Reading game and read totally on his own the online book "Clifford and The Cat" which contains roughly four sentences repeated over and over.

The difference, however, was visual aids. As in, with previous reading attempts Logan had pictures to refer to. If he didn't know what the word "Clifford" was, he could glance at the illustration and make a good guess. But with Sawyer - he had nothing. He had just words on paper...and he did it.


Chaos Mommy said...

That's awesome, Sandy! What a big boy! My 5 year old can't read anything except his name and "no" LOL!!!
Good for Logan!

Shannon said...

Yes, yes, yes. THIS is how learning happens. People criticize homeschooling and wonder, for one example, how a child will learn to read without proper phonics lessons? Children learn when they are interested and motivated. Period. And when it happens, watch out - because they will amaze you.

Nicole said...

Go, Logan! Go!

And kudos to you, mom, for following your instincts and scaffolding him up to that next level.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Sandy, this has to be one of those amazingly moving "AHA" moments that you wish you had the camcorder going for...it's right up there with that moment in "The Miricle Worker" when the young Helen finally makes that "connection" that 'wa wa' and all those scribbles in her hand have been the key to what 'water' is...and the word for it...and all the other things that will now have a name....So moving.
And so thrilling that you have watched your son fall in love with words and books and reading...!

Much More Than A Mom said...

I usually just lurk here b/c I read while I nurse, but it was a great day to read after my son went to bed. As a teacher, I must commend you...what a wonderful gift you're giving your son! You would not believe how many kids we get in kindergarten who have barely held a book!

kontan said...

Congratulations!!! I think it is awesome.

Carmi said...

You somehow managed to capture that magical moment when a little guy becomes a reader. I almost felt as if I could see him bust through the border.

This is beautiful. You have every reason to be incredibly proud of him. And of yourself.

Cath said...

Wow, you certainly have one clever lil guy there!
Well done Logan and Mommy

Wordnerd said...

What a wonderful story to tell. Good for Logan, and good for you! I think one of the biggest problems we parents face is not knowing what our children are capable of at a particular age.

When my daughter was in Pre-K, her teacher pulled me aside one day and said, "I hope you don't mind, but I've been letting Annie read to the students." And I told her that was fine, that I didn't think she had it in her. The teacher told me that she didn't mean reading to her own classmates -- she was going to the first grade classes and reading to them! I think that one of the reasons she read early on is because we had a lot of those book-and-tape combinations. When the voice on the tape read to her, she didn't have to share the book with me. And she learned to read on her own because of it. Any way you can teach them word association techniques is wonderful!