I didn’t manage to squeeze in a non-IMWAYR post this week. So here is a post I wrote on our family blog that seems fairly relevant to this blog’s audience. Enjoy!
We have always surrounded our kids with books. I read a bit. They know me at the library. And by always keeping the Corbchops and The Iza supplied with stories, we’ve surrounded them with something else, too: Words.
This is a the Corbchops post. Though The Iza is starting out on this journey herself.
Any time the Corbchops has a book in front of him, we call it reading. Some people may say that just looking at a book doesn’t actually qualify as reading. I disagree. Reading is interacting with text or story. The Corbchops has read the pictures of his books since he could hold them. His is interacting with the story through its pictures. With wordless picture books, he reads them the same as anyone else. So he has always been a reader.
But it is still exciting that in the last couple months he has really started working on sounding out words. We’ve never pushed word-reading. But when the Corbchops expresses an interest, we help him with it. We’ve got the alphabet down. At his pre-K, there is a letter of the week, and they work on both finding the letter and writing it. They work on the sound the letter makes. We piggy back on this, and the Corbchops has sounded out full words on his own. He’s not quite at the stage where he will sound out words in books he is looking at, independently. He will try, when he is ready. He is stepping through his own stages as a reader.
The Corbchops has also been copying letters for quite a while. We will write what he wants to write, and he will copy it. We call it writing. And it is.
In the last couple of weeks, the Corbchops has been a bit of a terror. It has been very challenging. But a couple of times he has initiated his own coping strategy, one that we had never really suggested. The first time he did it, he told The Wife, “I really need a pen.” Then he proceeded to draw a picture to let out his feelings. That’s right. The Corbchops is into art therapy. All on his own.
Then, this week, I did something that the Corbchops didn’t like. He left and came back a minute later with this:
It’s a little hard to read, but you can see the angry, sharp-toothed man that might be “mean-me,” or might be “angry-Corbchops.” Next to it, the Corbchops wrote “iDNDLKU.” So, that’s “I don’t like you.” Which made me a little sad, but also HOLY COW HE WROTE SOMETHING!
I think I said something like, “Oh, that makes me really sad…But look! You wrote that all by yourself!” I couldn’t really contain my excitement about it, despite what it said.
He left and then came back with more added. “iLVU.”
This was the first time the Corbchops had sounded out and written his own words. It was amazing.
“Corbchops! You’re figuring out the code of writing!”
He was excited. He left and came back with a picture of “MOME” (Mom-ee) and “DADD” (Dad-dee). What a step to witness.
Today, the Corbchops came home from daycare with this picture:
We couldn’t decipher the word in the bottom left, even with the Corbchops’s help (he tried sounding it out), but you can clearly see “Love” and “Mommy.” He also scribbled out a “Love” in the top left. Maybe he wanted it in a different place, or maybe he wasn’t satisfied with it. It’s hard to know, too, how much his daycare person might have helped. Still. Writing.
The Corbchops will go to kindergarten next year. It makes me a little nervous, for a variety of reasons. Mostly, though, I am worried about reading and writing. At home, the Corbchops is a reader. He is a writer. He is a lot of things. I don’t want that to change. I don’t want anyone to tell him that he isn’t a reader yet. That he isn’t a writer yet. I don’t want anyone to tell him what books he can read and which ones he can’t (Of course I’ll read that Dora book with you, Corbchops [but it might go “missing” later…]).
But what can I do? Some things we can’t control. In the meantime, let’s read this book. Or write this story. Clearly, the Corbchops is on his way. He has taken a few more steps on the reading and writing continuum. We’re pretty excited to be tagging along.