My son has a true passion for the written language. He has loved books, letters, and words since he was an infant. By six months, he could identify if a book was right side up and learned his letters before eighteen months. He learned their corresponding sounds shortly thereafter. However, here we met a roadblock.
My first attempt to teach him to sound out words was quickly abandoned. I could easily see it was pure memorization for my eager little boy. It was not the method I desired for my children. The National Reading Panel states “Systematic, explicit phonics instruction improves children’s word recognition, spelling, and reading comprehension skills.” I whole heartedly believe reading comprehension is a critical life skill that sets the foundation for all future success. Thus, I want to give them every advantage possible to master this task.
My second attempt was abandoned partially due to waning interest and failure to consistently recognize patterns. In fact, we shelved most “academic” endeavors for a few months (before starting Mother Goose Time in August). The unit studies we were doing had lost some of their appeal and we enjoyed a summer of play.
We approached Mother Goose Time curriculum rather lightly, often stretching the lessons over seven days instead of completing everything in five. (The flexibility is wonderful. It provides a great framework for a rigorous preschool curriculum or a gentle introduction to formal academics.) Then we were introduced to this little reader.
My son was astonished to be able to sound out the words in his little book (except the final word–friends). My heart was so full to hear the excitement in his voice when he nearly shouted “Mama, I can read!” He is in love! He has read it over and over again, begging for more books to read. Other readers have left him exhausted or frustrated but this provided just enough confidence to energize him.
Although I know we have a long road before he is a proficient reader, I am so thankful to see his enthusiasm return.