yet another thing we don’t need to Teach (reading!)

For some time now, I’ve known that DD can read a wide variety of words. But if you were to ask her, she’d insist that she can’t read. She was reluctant to read out loud to anybody, and when reading her own books she preferred making the stories up as she went along, using a few key words to build upon. Or she would merely recite books that she had memorized – this kid had committed the entire story of “Green Eggs and Ham” to memory well before she was 2 years old.


She’s enjoyed books since she was about 3 months old. It was apparent from around the age of 3 that she could read numerous words but for the next year and a half she showed an apparent reluctance to admit what she was doing, even to herself. Discussions about reading were met with resistance so I just backed off the subject entirely and let her continue her love affair with books. After all, it was her relationship with the written word, and I have never had any doubts that she would eventually read (nor did I care at what age that skill emerged). 
But her attitude puzzled me. Was it an issue of perfectionism? Was it lack of confidence? Or merely lack of interest? I don’t know. But whatever it was, she seems to have moved past it because she is now “officially” a reader: about two weeks ago she invited her brother to come into bed with her so she could read him a book. I was putting laundry away in the room when this happened, and I was stunned when I realized that she was actually reading the words out loud, pausing to sound out some in her head, or to check the context of the word. It was a book she was familiar with, but hadn’t memorized. And besides, I could tell by the way she was speaking that she was reading the words, rather than reciting from memory. 
I decided not to say anything to her right then as I didn’t want to disturb the moment. But that evening while we were reading bedtime stories she offered to read parts of the book, and I took that opportunity to inform her that she was reading. Her eyes went wide open and she smiled a big smile. Now she is proud of the fact that she can read. When my mother was over here the other day Emily brought out book after book and read them to her. 
I’m really pleased with how we’ve handled reading in this family. I started reading at age 3, but my father worked intensively with me so that, by the time I was 5, I could read literally anything that was put in front of me including textbooks and newspaper articles. I decided not to push DD’s reading in any way, preferring instead to let her go at her own pace and come to it in her own time. The excitement and pride she feels in this accomplishment is all the reward I need. 
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on “yet another thing we don’t need to Teach (reading!)

  1. Shawna

    I can just see her face! What a delight for her and what a joy for you to share with her.

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