For a few months now, Colin has been thinking a lot about words. “Hey Mom, did you know that ‘bridge’ starts with /b/, B?” “Do you know what’s cool? When Buzz Lightyear says ‘To infinity and beyond!’ it has FIN in it, and my friend is named Fin!”
A couple of weeks ago, while we were driving, he announced, “I know how to spell ‘cat.’ C… well, I know what letter it starts with.”
“Let’s think about what the next letter could be,” I suggested. “/C/…/a/…”
“A!” he said.
“Right! And what sound does it end with?”
“/C/…/a/…/t/… T!” He was so delighted with himself that as soon as we got home he grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil, declared the kitchen off-limits to Michael and Alex, and sat down at the table to write his first word other than his own name:
Little by little, he’s been sounding out words, too. I printed out the first couple of Progressive Phonics books a while back, but they seemed like too much for him and I put them away. Instead, very occasionally, I’ll help him sound out one or two words in his books.
But yesterday, when Alex was doing spelling, Colin hovered close and couldn’t stop talking about words and their sounds. I wrote a couple of words on the whiteboard for him to read while she was writing dictation sentences, and he wanted more. So I tried his first sentence:
And he read it! Over and over again. He was afraid to try the last word, but with encouragement he could read that one too. As soon as Michael came home, Colin dragged him over to the spelling board to demonstrate his reading prowess.
This morning I’ve put another sentence on the board under the first one. I certainly don’t intend to require reading lessons, but I’m not averse to a little low-key enticement.