Read, Locke, Read
WARNING: You are about to read the writings of a proud mom. Exposure to excessive bragging can cause unwanted side effects such as cringing and nausea so read at your own risk.
Locke has been reading since right after he turned four. Not just guessing at words based on the first letter or two, but actually reading. It began because Locke had a mission. And that mission was to know everything there is to know about our prehistoric friends, the dinosaurs.
Locke learned how to read by studying his Smithsonian-sized collection of dinosaur books. He'd peruse these books for hours on end, carefully studying the pictures and learning to sound out the multisyllabic names so he'd know which dinosaur he was seeing. So, instead of looking at a few letters of a word and guessing what the word is, he could actually sound out names like Heterodontosaurus and Eustreptospondylus.
Learning to read this way may not be the easiest but, months later, after mastering these gargantuan creatures and their equally gargantuan names, he can now read any book in their comprehensive playroom library. It's like going from Tolstoy to Palin. I'm sure he finds the monosyllabic words, wild exaggeration, and large print amusing.
Kelly's mom was visiting recently and she brought a collection of books used in the 1st grade classes of the elementary school at which she is a guidance counselor. The books are used to test the reading progress of 1st graders throughout the year, the first book used at the beginning of the year, and the 16th book is to test their progress at the end of 1st grade. I grabbed the 16th book and showed it to Locke. He started reading it, using the correct inflection for quotes and punctuation, like he'd heard it a dozen times.
I'm so proud of Locke and impressed with his reading skills. And his success is beginning to inspire Lola. I try to be very careful to praise her progress as well as his but she understands that he has a gift and that he's worked hard to achieve his success. So now she's starting to work too. She's beginning to stick with a word longer, sounding it out instead of guessing.
A love of books is such a gratifying thing to see in your kids. I hope it lasts a lifetime.