I’d like to read this story forever.
Last night Rilla fell asleep reading herself (out loud) a Little Bear book. She was snuggled in beside me as I worked: this is a pattern we’ve fallen into lately, a good one. I work in the evenings. Scott handles dinner and the bedtime hubbub. Wonderboy conks out around eight, and then Scott and the older girls will often watch a little TV—an episode of M.A.S.H., most likely, or maybe a Mythbusters. Sometimes Rilla has crashed by this point, but if she’s still awake she gets to come into our room—I work on our bed—and look at books.
Some nights I’m ready to quit writing, and I’ll read a story to her. Other nights, I need to keep plugging away, but she likes that too: I think she feels like she’s getting away with something special, hanging out with Mommy during Work Time.
We realized that on these nights, we need to make sure she is stocked with beginning readers. Picture books have too sophisticated a vocabulary for her to read by herself, right now. Little Bear, Elephant and Piggie, Frog and Toad: these are just right.
At her age, “reading to yourself” means “reading out loud.” Silent reading is perhaps a year away. I get caught up in listening. Can’t help it! Such a delight, those confident trotting sentences and then the stumble, the try and re-try and a tap on my arm, “Mommy, what’s this word?”
My book will get written. This Rilla-story unfolds only once. I’m on the edge of my seat.
One of my most fond memories of all my girls is the learning to read process and, especially, those first weeks and months when it all comes together for them and they can read those timeless classics like “Frog and Toad” and “Little Bear.” Simply beautiful.
On July 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm
I do think its so cute when I send my 5 year old to bed to read. And she reads out loud. Its cute!
On July 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm
Yes. For years I said, I can write a book any time, but this is the only chapter of childhood my daughter will have. And my favourite mothering quote is from Anne of Ingleside – “I am writing living epistles now.”
On July 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm
We are on the cusp here – I am reading Frog and Toad to Naomi, with her reading a line here and there.
On July 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm
Oh, bless. The Rilla Story. How lovely.
And how true: this only happens once.
On July 19, 2011 at 3:08 am
My six year old went from reading to me to reading silently by himself in an hour. And I grieved. I was looking forward to watching from a distance as he whispered words to himself and figured out the storyline. But somehow he skipped that part. I encouraged him to do it, but he apparently didn’t need it (and I do quiz him on reading comprehension).
So on the rare moments he is reading outloud, I stop and hold it in my heart.
On July 19, 2011 at 4:18 am
So sweet. Witnessing the path to reading is one of my favorite bits of motherhood.
And Adie! Yes, that’s one of my favorite Anne quotes, too! 🙂
On July 19, 2011 at 5:48 am
Those moments go by all too quickly. My young reader, the youngest of four, is now almost 18. I speak from experience. His best loved books to read at that time (and mine too) were Cynthia Rylant’s, Mr. Putter and Tabby series. I still read them for myself. Beautiful books that make blessed memories.
On July 19, 2011 at 6:30 am
I remember listening to all those little phonic readers from school. What excitement when she finally realized how it all came together. What a sweet post.
On July 19, 2011 at 10:25 am
Oh you have completely confirmed the thoughts I was having just yesterday…..that times like these are THE very reason that time-travel would be a very good thing! I was just thinking of times such as you describe that would be so lovely to revisit. Oh the enjoying and savoring. 🙂
And by the way, I love that you work on the bed. I can so relate!
Okay, off to time-travel via memories to treasured times…………….
On July 19, 2011 at 11:47 am
The Sojourner says:
I apparently learned how to read silently. Nobody knows exactly how or when I learned; I went to kindergarten and my teacher asked me to read aloud and so I did, and she told my mother “Megan reads so well!” and my mother said “She knows how to read?” (It really shouldn’t have been that surprising. My mother also tells a story about how when I was 3 I decided that I was going to write down the whole alphabet, and so I did. Apparently accurately, though with a few backwards letters.)
That probably sounds super braggy, but it’s not meant to be. Reading was just my thing. I wonder sometimes if it will be weird for me, teaching kids how to read, since I have no memory of not knowing how and thus no experience of what the process of learning feels like. (My fiance, who is smarter than I am, apparently didn’t read well until his late elementary years, so maybe I can ask him.)
My baby sister is four and a half and just starting to figure out the alphabet, and I do think it’s the cutest thing ever when she FLIPS OUT because IT’S A T! A T FOR TERESA! So maybe there’s hope for me not always comparing little kids to my own experience of childhood.
On July 21, 2011 at 5:35 am