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.