Monday, September 29, 2008

Props to me (oh, and Colin too)

A couple of weeks ago, Colin got to visit the library at school to check out a book for the very first time. He came home with tips from the librarians - always turn the page from the top corner, always wash your hands before you read your book - and the book, "Are You My Mother?"

He sat down with Chad that night and read until page 38, all by himself. He had never heard that book before.

Ladies and gentlemen, he is officially a reader.

During the summer we never got past lesson number 80 or so in our book. He started getting somewhat frustrated with reading aloud and resistant to the lessons, and I didn't really mind giving it a break. I figured that he was already way ahead of where he needed to be for kindergarten and he would be spending the next 20 some years with lessons, so he could take a break.

Sometime not long after that, it all really clicked in his head, and his abilities just soared. Colin started shocking us with the words that he could figure out on his own. He started out being able to sound out words, but of course not all words can be sounded out, and that's when I started to realize he could figure out even the "funny" words on his own because of the parts that he can sound out, plus their context.

It is really bizarre to have him ask, "Mom, how did Wall Street sell out America?" because he was reading the cover of TIME, and I just love seeing him sit down with Gabe to read him a book. I love leaving him notes in his lunch box, knowing that I can throw in some words I have never taught him and he will still be able to read it. Chad and I are pretty tickled by it all, and so is Colin. He actually enjoys reading aloud now.

I have been wondering if it was kind of pointless to teach Colin to read when he is going to learn in school anyway (and definitely not for awhile - they haven't even covered writing the whole alphabet yet), but last week at Back-to-School night, they kept emphasizing that they only teach in Chinese, with a 45 minute English class every day, so it is really important that we work with them on their English (reading, writing, spelling) at home. It made me really glad to know that we have already made great strides in that area, plus I know that Colin just has more confidence in himself as a learner and thinker because of what he is already capable of. I love that!


Ashley said...

That is really awesome. It must feel great to know that work paid off. I'm thinking of taking a look at that book!

Seriously, Colin had never heard of "Are you my mother?" ?? That is one of my kids' favorite books!

James said...

It's great that Collin has the jump on the other kids with literacy. He's started off ahead and he'll probably stay out there. Sadly (for the others), he'll probably move further and further ahead of the rest as they flounder because they can't read well enough to keep up with the more advanced work, and most likely will learn to associate reading with work and punishment instead of fun, making the death spiral tighten.

Sorry for the hyperbole, but I see it so much that I'm really happy to see when a kid is actually ahead of the benchmarks and enjoys reading.

Kari said...

That's so exciting! Ezra's learning at school because I never did get my act together--but it's so cool to see him light up when he learns a new word. Hooray for reading!

Audra & Levi said...

That is awesome. Would you think those lessons would work for my Ethiopian kids? I need to get Ruby reading and Yonas does pretty well. Nolan's teacher is shocked by how well he reads. She sends him home with these silly 10 page books and we usually just read something else.

Oh, I loved "Are You My Mother?" when I was a kid, but I am trying to keep that one out of my house! I never thought about it, but the baby bird is going around looking for a mother that looks JUST like him. So, I read on an adoption blog how that bothers some multi-racial adoptive families... so, if you ever have time you MUST check out Keiko Kazzas "A Mother for Choco!" THAT IS MY FAMILY! It is the cutest book in the world and makes me tear up!

But I am not saying it is a bad book. Just not for us right now. I have fond memories of reading it. So, I will shut up now. The point... GO COLIN!!!

Katie said...


Katie said...

Actually, I gave it to Levi, so maybe he never told you.

Take a look at the reading book the next time I see you and see if you wanna use it for your kids. I seriously think it would work for them.

James said...

The book oughta work for them just fine. The last time I used it in the school district was with a 16 year old girl who was literally a closet case until CPS stepped in and had very little language skills beyond a smattering of Spanish and English. You 3 newest are at the right age for learning languages, so they should soak it up quickly.