Monday, December 13, 2010

And the Doors Flew Open

Maya is a reader.

She has been writing her name since before she was two. She has been sounding out words at will for over a year.

Afraid I might turn her away from reading by making it a chore, I never pressured or pushed or cajoled her past whatever point she was ready to go. She has seemed so ready, so on the cusp of really reading, since kindergarten began, that last Monday I finally e-mailed her gem of a teacher out of frustration.

How do I encourage without frustrating her? That was my question. Mrs. Johnson, the pragmatic and patient purveyor of the Jolly Phonics program told me that yes, Maya was reluctant to read in a group at school, but that she was obviously capable of reading when the mood struck.

Don't push her, she told me. Keep reading together. Eventually it will come.

I kid you not, that very afternoon, Maya brought me a new Reading Level 1 book at reading time, Barbie:  Horse Show Champ. She read every word, sounding out the tricky ones and taking her time.

Better yet, she used inflection, making her reading a performance. Once she straightened out the actual vocabulary, she re-read each sentence just the way I might.

So, she may not have begun with a great literary tome, but thanks to Barbie and her lovely horse Tawny, and the dozen other books Maya dug out of the playroom to read this week, she is on her way.

Just imagine what doors have opened. Someday, not so far away, she can lose herself in Anne of Green Gables  or Nancy Drew or The Golden Compass or Kate Dicamillo's fine worlds or... the possibilities leave me breathless.

As Maya herself said, with a little practice she'll be able to read the books on my bedside table. Gabrielle Garcia Marquez, here she comes!

1 comment:

Anna said...

What a thrill!! My first two were early readers, but Jay took longer. She wasn't getting the memorization method in the UK school, but the next year when we started homeschooling, she picked up on phonics like a dream. One of my biggest joys as a mom/teacher was assisting in that achievement. Go Maya! Today Barbie, tomorrow the world!!


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