This pic has nothing to do with the below story. We went to the beach today to fly kites, and while the boys were quite excited about it, they quickly lost interest and ended up here in the sand dunes. We had to shoo them out right after I took their picture because they are sitting in the middle of a restoration project. All this beautiful greenery was planted sometime before we moved here, and the plants were pretty small the first time we saw them. They are growing back with a vengeance, and it's a nice thing to see. That is, if I can keep my kids from killing them....
Last weekend, we went to Florida for a shopping trip and to take the boys to the zoo. We bought about $600 in groceries, mostly things like spices and organics that we can't get here at all and I can't live without (or at least refuse to try!). We also took a trip to Barnes and Noble, a store we miss greatly. One of the things on my list to pick up there were some easy reading books for Wyatt. We have a lot of kid's books, but hardly any of them were written with a beginning reader in mind, so they haven't been too useful in moving him from letter sounds to actually reading in a book. I picked up a couple that seemed in his ability range, and we brought them home on the plane (most of the food-stuffs we mailed because we get a better rate at the WPB post office than we would anywhere else).
I partly picked up these books because I've had trouble interesting Wyatt in actual book reading. He's doing well with his computer program, and he likes the writing exercises I've given him, but I almost have to bribe him to sit down and work on reading from a book. We would get through a couple pages or two before it would get too annoying and I'd move him on to something else.
Yesterday, I pulled out one of his books and sat down with him right before bedtime. I didn't think we'd get far, but he kept turning pages after we'd finish one. He was sounding out words much faster and easier than he's ever done it before, and seemed to finally be catching on to the fact that you can't guess a word after figuring out it's first sound, you have to hear all of the letters. We were on page twelve when it was time for bed. I had to promise him we'd finish it today (there was a Lego fire truck riding on this - a couple months ago we promised him one when he finished his first book).
This afternoon, we did just that. He's now the proud owner of a fire truck, and I'm a very excited Mama. My excitement only compounded when we sat down to read books at night, and he brought me "Green Eggs and Ham". I was only going to have him read a couple pages, or even just the title, but he just kept going and read most of the book. It took a half hour, but was so worth the time spent.
Back when we were just starting this journey, a friend told me that when it clicks, he'll just go for it with reading. I wasn't sure what that meant, but now I think I do. Reading is by far the one skill that has brought me the farthest in my life, and it's been amazing to be able to be the one that teaches my child it. I really don't know that I have done much that has felt as rewarding as this has. I still remember how excited I was when I suddenly realized that letters made words. It was a huge thing for me at six years old, and I see the same light in Wyatt's eyes now.
I really never thought I could teach him to read. He was interested, so I figured it was worth a try, but there's a reason I was in the secondary ed track in college. Elementary education was just not my thing. I'm glad I didn't let that stop me, and I'm glad I didn't send him to preschool. This was our thing, and I'm really grateful he let me be a part of it.
The other unexpected benefit is that Oscar is now showing signs of understanding that those scribbles on his books might actually mean something. After he sat and watched me point out each word for Wyatt to read, he wanted me to do the same thing with his bedtime story. I don't know when he'll be ready or interested in learning more, but that's one of the first steps to reading.
This is all very exciting, even more so than our growing garden. I love motherhood so much more than I ever thought I would!
P.S. Yes, we can pretty much growing anything we want year round here. The biggest problem we have is heat not cold, as it doesn't get into freezing territory. So, I can't grow things like lettuce, although I'm going to give that a try next winter. Right now, we have lettuce on the windowsill because the stuff we can grow is so much better and cheaper than the stuff that occasionally shows up in the store.