She’s been reading for awhile now. It comes in spits and spurts, small doses of the familiar words punctuated with the occasional pause, the repetitive effort to sound out a new word. She was getting very good at mastering the simple connecting words, the and’s, the where’s, the said’s. She was getting pretty good at sounding out the harder words too, oftentimes nailing the first sound or syllable and then running with it – adding whatever word ending popped first into her mind. It would sound like she was playing a rousing group game of charades. She says the beginning sound “per” and then the shouting begins: Personality! Persuade! Persnickity! Purchase! Perchance! Pursestrings! Persimmon! She never seemed to have the patience to work through the remainder of the printed word, preferring to tap into her seemingly endless number of vocabulary words listened to and stored away for future use in her seemingly endless number of books she insists on reading. I think it could be a new category at dictionary.com – “dictionary”, “thesaurus”, “encyclopedia”, “all reference”, “e’s random word yell”. It was fun to see what she might come up with, all the while trying to convince her to occasionally just look at the letters past the first three or four.
And then one day she just seemed to be reading. Really reading. Wanting to read the long sentences with tricky vocabulary, the paragraphs with words like “suppose” and “travelled” and “restauranteering”. (That last one is in our current library book.) She doesn’t get them all right, and there are stops and starts, but there is a flow to it that signals the next step. Her attention is no longer on each word individually…she’s finally getting to the point where each word informs the next, and then the next. The patterns of words are familiar, and the sentences form unbroken chains which weave into paragraphs – paragraphs that support the pictures that they surround, but are not limited to matching the images exactly. Really reading, where she wants to do it more, she works through it on her own, she stays up late at night working at it in the sliver of hallway light, falls asleep with the whisper of the last phrase still denting the shape of her lips, hair spilling across the open page tucked under her cheek. I read once that you start to dream (in the way that you can remember and recount them when awake) when you learn to read. She tells me of her dreams now in the morning, and I know she has opened a new door to a world where she’ll always be welcome. This thrills me to no end.
The video above was taken one afternoon after she woke from a nap. She’s moved down to our room and is sitting on the bed while her dad finishes up on the computer. She was reading so well on her own that he quietly set up the camera to record her without her knowledge. It’s a few minutes of her working her way through a new book, and I love to watch it, to watch her. (Especially the cracker break in the middle!) Enjoy.