Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My kid can read

This won’t seem so exciting to you. I am aware of that.

But for me, this milestone is momentous.


Witnessing him learning to read is exactly like witnessing him learning to speak. I talked a blue streak to him for months and months and it was clear that he understood, sure, but still the day that he uttered “boo” when he wanted me to read him his bedtime story, well that changed everything.

Yes, “book” was his first word.

David and I are book people. It is the one passion we have deeply, truly in common. Reading stories are a kind of religion to us, and if you think I’m overstating the case, let me share with you the fact that I often worry what would happen if one of my kids turns out not to love books. It is an INANE thing to worry about. Of all the things to waste your concern over, it is surely one of the most idiotic, I know. But if it turns out they won’t crack a book for pleasure, it would be like them refusing to come to church with us on Sundays. It’d be their prerogative but it'd be a blow.

So, to see Primo crack the code of words – breaking down the strings of letters to produce meaning – makes me wildly happy.

I’m not saying he’s very keen on it, though. I sort of figured that he would be the kind of kid that taught himself to read at the age of 3 and would keep himself awake til the wee hours reading the dictionary by Kindergarten, and that is definitely not the case. I don’t blame him really. It’s a pain to learn to read. Its hard to sound shit out. It takes patience and there’s precious little pay-off at first. When you’re used to hearing Roald Dahl and Lewis Carroll read aloud every night, its kind of anti-climactic to read “The cat sat on the mat.”

I’ve had to remind myself to back the hell off of the kid and let him take his time with this. I figure the most important thing is to keep him loving literature, to keep him hooked on stories, so that he has ample incentive to trudge through the perplexing phonetics system to learn to do it himself.

The kid is reading. So it won’t be long before we get to discuss the finer points of The Sound and the Fury. Just a matter of time.