Boston just turned 4, and this week, he read his first book—Jig and Mag. He still sounds out some of the words first before he says them but some words he knows on sight. I am so excited!
It’s one of my proud accomplishments that I have taught my children to read before they reach kindergarten. In fact, one of them was reading so well in first grade that the teacher used him as a helper to coach other kids when she didn’t have enough time to get to all of them. I don’t think he was being challenged very much at that time. But that’s another story.
It is one of my great joys to watch children learn, develop and grow. I learned to teach reading from my dear mother-in-law, who always valued education. I watched her teach her child to read and was so excited to teach my own child when he became old enough. I think I pushed him too hard because I was so excited about it that once I started a session with him I didn’t want to stop! I almost thought it was going to happen overnight, I had the formula. We had these special sound books, actually produced by the Christian based curriculum ‘Beka’. I would point to each letter, make the sound, and he would repeat it. It took me a few times before I applied the rule ‘quit before the child wants to’. He got to where he didn’t want to read with me at all. Live and learn. To get him excited about it again, I appealed to Grandma for help, who took time each day at 10 AM to play reading games with him while I observed, she kept it short and sweet, and within 2 weeks he was reading, actual words, actual books! He already knew the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they made, and they were mostly words with short sounds, but he was reading books! Soon he was reading signs on the highway, cereal boxes, everything.
When he was 4 years old we were at Wal-mart and he asked me what the upside down ‘i’ meant. I told him it was called an exclamation point and it means you should read it with enthusiasm or excitement. A few seconds later I hear him under his breath, saying each word as if it were its own sentence: We! Sell! For! Less!
I learned from him and have been able to teach all the rest of my children on my own. We always have plenty of books around. Now my 18 month old just sees them and yells out, ‘Book!’ Giving kids a head start in their education is always a good idea. Who says polygamous kids are uneducated?!