Learning to read

Our five-year-old is learning to read, and it is totally blowing my mind — but also making my arms sore.

I knew he would learn to read once he entered Primary, but I guess I didn’t think it would happen so quickly! I don’t remember reading in Primary, although I do remember a classmate writing a murder mystery in Grade 1 (she was immediately skipped ahead, clearly).

It started one day in October, when our son came home and announced “We rolled pumpkins at school and now I can spell ‘roll.’ R-O-L-L.” I almost dropped a plate, I was so surprised. He could spell ‘roll’! He was a genius! Or — wait, maybe he just memorized it? Hmm.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsThe next week, I discovered he could read “it,” “is,” “and” and “the.” It was even more exciting! The class newsletter suggested reading at home with your child and running your finger until each word as you read it.

From that day on, I have exhausted my arms each night — the left from holding a storybook so both kids can see, and the right from slowly underlining each word as I read it. When I get to a word I suspect he knows, I pause and that’s his cue to sound it out. While it’s all very thrilling, children’s books have never felt so … endless.

A few days later, I found out he knew “in” and “on,” I think, but it got confusing quickly. Which little words did he know? Which ones were still a mystery? And how come he sometimes read “a” as “the”? It’s one letter! A! Ahhhhh!

He knew “by” but not “my” and huffed at me like Seriously, Mom? How could you point to a word I don’t know? Are you pressuring me?! But then he was supremely offended if I dared to read one of his words out loud during story time, instead of pointing to it and waiting. “I know that one! Don’t say that one!”

I just learned last week that there’s a “Word Wall” in his classroom where these words are posted, so I thought I might finally get some clarity. How many words are on the wall? Which words are on the wall? Are new words added each day? His answers were “Not sure,” “All of dem” and “Uh, I fink so?”

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene …

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