Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'd rather bang my head against a wall then listen to another Easy Reader

Hotdamn, its hard to learn to read. It is so freaking hard, in fact, that I don't know how anybody manages to do it. Seriously, as I write this, I am in awe of the fact that I know how to spell the word “spell” and that you know how to read it, and understand what meaning I intended when I typed it.

What I’m saying is that if you are reading these words now, you are a genius! And yes, I am one too. Not only are we genius, we are industrious, patient and full of faith. Because it takes all those qualities to learn how to read. This is what I’ve learned from my five year-old.

Much to my surprise, Primo has been totally uninterested in learning how to read. I thought he’d be the kind of kid that taught himself by the age of 3 by studying the cereal box, but I see now that was insane. I see that reading is hard, even for semi-brilliant children. And the English language has begun to annoy me too, because so much of it is not only non-phonetic but just stupid.

Like the way “k” is weirdly silent sometimes, as in “know” and “knock.”

And the inscrutable pronunciation of “ough” as in “through” and “furlough” (hey, screw you if you’re thinking what easy-reader has the word “furlough” in it – YOU think of another “ough” word.).

Even the way you say “one” is aggravating. Who would guess that’s how you say it?

An vowels. Good God, how are we ever supposed to figure out which exact sound the “i”s or the “e”s make. It’s EXHUASTING having to explain it: I can’t even imagine how exhausting it is having to learn and remember it.

Nonetheless, I have been forcing Primo to read a few pages of an easy-reader book almost every night, continually reminding him that the more he does it, the easier it will be. I don’t blame him for hating it. I hate it too. It’s fucking boring to listen to “Mittens flaps his tail./ Mittens hits the ball./ Mittens hears a noise./ What’s that Mittens?” especially when the reading of those mind-bendingly boring words takes ten minutes. I try to keep things suspenseful by commenting on the action of the book but it’s near-impossible.

“Oh, Primo! What do you think it is that Mittens hears?”

My son gives me a look that says, “I’m not an idiot. I just can’t read yet.”

“It’s a dog, Mommy.”

“Well, maybe but let’s turn the page and find out!”

I am tempted to just crack open The Iliad and have him learn to read with that. I mean, can I really ask my literature-lover to slum it with this awful I-can-read shit?