Friday, May 30, 2008

Standing on the edge of a new world

It is in my nature to employ a scientific approach to most aspects of life. And so it happened that I would get excited when Scooter would do something like roll over for the first time, but would not feel comfortable checking off "rolls over." I needed replication of the initial results in order to claim with confidence that Scooter could roll over.

I am not ready to say that Scooter is reading, but it's become quite clear that he knows a good number of words in reasonable context. I also find that I have to walk a fine line with him on this topic. He is adamant that he can't read--I think that he, perhaps taking after me, is unwilling to consider anything less than total mastery as "reading." But he absolutely glows with the right sort of praise. So I don't say, "Good reading," but things like, "Wow, you know a lot of words."

A few nights ago, he "helped" me read his bedtime story. If he knows what something is supposed to say, he can generally match up the beginning of the spoken words with the printed ones, as he demonstrated with the title. Then as we read, I would stop a couple times each page on a content word. With the context of the story and the picture, as well as sounding out the beginning of each word, he was able to guess with pretty good accuracy. Even when he was wrong, he picked either a synonym or another word beginning with the same letter.

Tonight, I made a new potty prize card. (After a frustrating period of increasing accidents, we returned to bribery and keep track of what prizes come next so that he knows what he's working towards. He finished off his second one last night.) He was eager to see what was in store, so we placed the card on the bathroom counter to look it over. I pointed at each night in turn, and he faithfully read off each prize, including the big prize nights that usually include an "or" (e.g., "train or Lego"). To be fair, he has a good idea of the range of prizes at this point and the words are different enough that he can probably figure most of them out from the first letter of each word. But still, he knew them all and only needed my help in tracking across each line. Because the words weren't in story-form, I suspect that it never even crossed Scooter's mind that he was doing anything new.

Considering what I know of my most frequent visitors, I don't think I have to explain how thrilling it is to be seeing this new world open up for my son. In my eagerness, it's hard not to grab his hand and pull him along, but for the time being I'm slowing down and following his lead, matching his steps, and savoring the details.


Lisa b said...


Is it wrong that I keep loving you more when I think - hey that's exactly like me?
I never like to count the chickens till they are cooking for dinner.

Aliki2006 said...

Hooray for Scooter!

I waited and waited for this moment with L. I thought it would be a big moment of epiphany, but L. hid his reading and wouldn't read AT ALL in front of us until well into first grade. It just took awhile for him to hit the ground running with it--but you're right, it's amazing.

Mouse said...

Lisa--Even though I spend a good part of my days reading very old literature, I remain a scientist at heart. Our recent conversations reminded me of just how true this is. Trillian's quite a bit like this too, so I sometimes forget that this is not a default mindset!

And Scooter won't read for me if I call it reading. He'll say, "I can't. You do it." So I have to hold back a bit. I suspect he won't call it reading until he bring a book to us and read the whole thing without any help.