Getting home from work the other day, my wife showed me something that made me proud… My son had written down a complete sentence. The kindergarten teacher was dictating the words and the students were writing down what they heard. This fired me up to write a couple words myself and here I am to do just that. This made me think that I should start my second series piece and it’s going to be titled:
Learning To Read
Reading is most important thing anyone could ever learn to do and it makes a good ‘series’ feature for this blog. There were a couple of posts already in this vein and it just seems like a worthy topic of some additional journal entries and fits a series chronology well.
The idea behind this series is to follow the learning progress of my kids, now 5 and 3, and keep a journal on their development as they learn to read. It wasn’t but a handful of months ago my wife and I were meeting my son’s kindergarten teacher with about 50 other parents. The teacher was telling us about all the wonderful things we could expect to see through the kindergarten year. There would be leaps and bounds made in our kids’ writing and that we shouldn’t expect to see perfectly formed words but rather phonetic interpretations of them. For example: KR might spell car. That would be perfectly normal and would demonstrate good progress.
In order to better prepare your child’s mind for school, you can make a difference by reading to your child as much as possible. You will almost see the synapses firing behind your children’s eyes as you read to them each night. But, it’s hard to know when your child will start reading and writing on his own. As I have compared it before, it’s much like planting a garden: you have to fertilize and enrich the soil the same way you make sure your child is getting healthy food, sleep, and exercise. You have to water the sapling and make sure it gets the right amount of sunlight just the same way you must read to your child every day and make sure his brain is getting good stimuli. And, that’s really all there is to it. The trick is that you have to do this for a long time. The cumulative effect of your effort is what pays off; just as a sponge can only absorb so much water at a time, so too can your child’s mind only absorb so much training at a time. You must consistently resupply small doses to keep that sponge wet.
Make sure to throw as much stimuli as you can toward your child as their synapses are firing at a much higher rate than our old tired brains. They can handle more than you think. The trick is to know the situation: if your child is not attentive you’re wasting your time and you’ll stress him or her out by pushing too hard. You must give him good food and good sleep to get more attention for educating. As the kids get older, you can push them harder, but at 5 and 3, it’s pretty much good food and good sleep that will help your cause. If they’re not responding, back off some; bend them like the willow lest you snap them like the oak.
I sound like a broken record I suppose, but seeing my son write down his first sentences, I felt such a wonderful affirmation. The love and devotion of my wife gives in such a healthy dose and all the time I’ve spent too can’t help but make you feel good when you see the fruit of your investment. The two pictures posted in this entry are perhaps two of my proudest boasts as a father so far to date and why I started this blog. Watching my son catch a football at 4 years old was great. Seeing him hit a softball over the 2nd baseman’s head at 4 years old made me beam. But, writing a coherent sentence at 5 1/2 years old is the most rewarding thing yet. My wife and I are truly blessed with two great kids. I can’t wait to write about my daughter’s first sentence. She’s sharp as a tack that one.