My five-year-old son is learning to read.
So as you might guess, our lives have been very calm, joyful and serene right now, with absolutely no drama whatsoever.
Bwahahahahahahahaha! It’s a good thing that lightning didn’t strike me just now.
Okay, so the whole learning-to-read business is fraught with drama. The screaming. The crying. The moaning. The flinging down of books.
My son’s not having much fun, either.
I never thought I’d actually have to teach my child to read. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but I was an early reader. In fact, I don’t even remember not knowing how to read. I was all over “Little House in the Big Woods” and “B is for Betsy” before I even started the first grade.
I just assumed my son would be an early reader, too. I guess I just naively assumed he’d just…pick it up somehow. My belief was bolstered by the fact that he started picking out random words on signs and remembering them. Zoo. Stop. McDonalds. Sweet CeCes.
But here we are. He’s five, he’s a month into kindergarten, and I’m getting notes home in his school folder letting me know that they’re going to start testing (!) the kids on basic words now. So we’re working on sight words. I gamely picked up a stack of Stage 1 readers at Target and Books-a-Million, and I even broke down and bought flashcards.
A week ago, I would have probably started to cry if you’d ask me how the reading was going. But through the magic of persistence and a Sesame Street-themed Stage 1 reader called “I Can Do It,” I’m seeing some major progress.
After a few frustrating days, my son is now powering through that Sesame Street book, and he’s even doing really well with the flashcards. We also suspect that he can actually read more words than he’s letting on. He’s had this attitude that if he can’t read something really ambitious, he’s not really reading. In other words, his mindset has been: any of the Harry Potter books=reading, but parts of “Splat the Cat”=not really reading.
Okay, and I admit to some bribery. I give him a dollar every Thursday if he works on his reading for 15 minutes each day. He has to pay for those Hero Factory toys somehow, right? But it works. It is working.
But today, my son came home and announced that he successfully passed the test for the first set of five sight words. It’s a small start, but it’s definitely progress.
On to the second set of sight words! And hopefully, a little less drama.