Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just Call Me Miss Daisy

I taught Lucy to read. Really, I don't think I had much to do with it because she's been on the verge of reading for some time now, but I did give her the needed push.

When we would talk about kindergarten this past summer, I would tell her how exciting everything would be and most importantly that she would learn to read! She, who loves books so much! She was surprisingly unenthused. "I don't think I want to learn to read, Mom, " she would say. Finally I got out of her that a) she was worried she wouldn't be able to and b) she was afraid that if she learned to read, no one would read to her anymore. (Isn't that sad?)

In her kindergarten class, they're planning to learn to read a new phrase every few weeks. They're going to make a book each week, which they'll put in their book shoebox, that will contain the phrase they're learning. In September it's "I am." Lucy came home with the little book she had made and colored with various uses of the phrase "I am."

"Will you read your new book to me?" I asked. She was happy to do that and read it all off in no time. "This kid is so ready to really read," I thought to myself. So I went over to Borders and picked up a copy of good ol' "Dick & Jane: Wherever We Are"--the book from which I learned to read. In fact, I still have a crystal clear memory of being by myself amidst the library shelves in my kindergarten room, sitting on a little stool, and for the first time the black marks on the page becoming words I could understand.

I brought the book home and showed Lucy. Her eyes got big with trepidation. "What if I can't do it?" she wailed. "That's no problem if you can't," I said. "Then we'll just have fun reading these cool stories together like we always do." That put her at ease. We opened the book and looked at the pictures and talked about what they were doing in them. Then we looked at the letters to see if she could identify them. She could of course, and we sounded them out. Within 20 minutes, she could read the first three stories in the book.

I felt like a proud mother duck, watching her duckling swim away from shore for the first time.

That night, about two hours after she should have been asleep, Lucy found me getting ready for bed. "Will you come and rock me?" she asked "Just like you did Elaine?" We went in their darkened room, and I hauled her up on my lap. "I'd like to read you those stories again about Dick and Jane," she whispered. "I can see from the light in the hall." We opened the book, she read the first three, and then wanted to learn how to read two or three more so we did that too. I can't wait for the first time I see the light of a flashlight under her covers, reading after lights out.

Here's my little reader:

The next morning I asked her, "Are you going to tell Mrs. Blevins you can read now? Whole stories and everything?" Translation: Are you going to tell Mrs. Blevins what a unique, talented, and smart little girl you are? And what a conscientious mother you have who has single-handedly taught you to read in the second week of school?

Usually in the morning during my devotions I pray, "Lord, help me to be more like Jesus today. Please don't let me get away with all my usual junk." Fortunately, for the sake of my spiritual growth and humility, He usually answers those prayers immediately. When Lucy got home, I asked her excitedly, "Did you tell Mrs. Blevins you know how to read now?" I couldn't wait to hear how wonderful her teacher thought we all are.

"Ummmmm...I forgot to tell her that," she answered. "Oh, but I did tell her there's a mousetrap in our kitchen now!"


Ann-Marie said...

Please give my congratulations to Lucy as she joins the giant club of those of us who love to read! I can see why you are so proud of her!

Dick & Jane - $7.99.
Learning to read - Priceless!

Melanie said...

Woohoo! Way to go Lucy! Way to Alice! That is very exciting and seeing her with that proud look as she held the book up - seriously it got me a little emotional! I can only imagine how you are feeling right now! By the way, how hysterical is it that she told her teacher about the mouse trap and not the huge achievement! I love that!

Juliet said...

Just love the picture of Lucy in the chair reading her book.

There is such a joy when kids can start sounding out words.

Tell Lucy I sent my congratulations!