I have continued to be rather embarrassed by this question, because I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer it for a couple of years. My little darling began reading at 3 years old. He knew his letters before that, but other than doing some seemingly random (but innate) things, I was convinced I hadn’t taught him.
Turns out, his parents’ bookish instincts proved helpful!
Me, Grandma Brenda & Edan
Edan (now 5) had a book in his NICU crib as an infant. Yes, we bought him a black and white book to put in there, knowing he couldn’t yet see color. We read to him as we rocked him, hooked up to all those monitors. We told him stories without books, too. Talk, talk, talk.
When we brought him home after 4 months, we took turns with Grandma Brenda reading to him. Not just a daily dose of reading before sleep. All. The. Time. He wasn’t yet walking when I proudly took him for his first library and read a large picture book to him.
As he grew, he played with magnetic letters. Paints. Chalk. Practiced cutting out his initials. Watching Leap Frog and Super Why! You know, all the typical things kids do. He caught on quickly, having been blessed with the memory of an elephant (an elephant never forgets, right?). Before I knew it he was asking me if a cursive letter was this or that (and he would be right). I picked up some phonics books, realizing he was ready to read. But oh how my son resisted! I couldn’t understand why. I didn’t want to push and cause him to dislike reading after the years spent developing good reading habits!
One day a little outfit in Oklahoma realized I didn’t have money for homeschool supplies and gifted me several books. This was my first introduction to Usborne Books & More. Their phonics book series was part of this bundle of books and Edan loved them; no more resisting learning to read! They not only had colorful illustrations, but they had a story (as far as tot stories go), unlike the other materials we had tried. I knew things were heading in the right direction when he shocked me by reading the “Home Goods” sign in the store one day.
Before we knew it he was a full-fledged reader and I passed those books on to my cousins Esther and Sarah. Time passed and Edan began reading more and more books, wanting to soak up as much nonfiction (and some fiction) as he could. Noticing his attraction to machines (mostly their buttons), I started my search for books about how things work and realized this book had come in that bundle from Oklahoma and we were ready for it!
We’ve moved 3x since my darling baby boy arrived, and I have watched him, as I follow his interests, grow to love reading even more. He loves stories. Pictures. Learning. And regurgitating! But what’s extra neat about that is he is learning to have conversations about what he’s learned, which tells me it’s not mere facts memorized but not understood. I love it!
This post isn’t about my little boy, though. It’s about reading. About cultivating a love of learning. It’s about literacy. Did you know that once past Kindergarten, reading for pleasure significantly drops? And by the time adulthood arrives, it is typically nil-to-none.
So spend time with your children. Let them see you reading for pleasure. Allow them to hear you dramatize a story for them. Give them the freedom to struggle with a word as they try to sound it out. Find books that match their interests. They not only deserve a solid foundation in literacy, but they NEED it. Be what they need. Bond and cuddle during story time and you will find that even as they enter the pre-teen stage, that bond will stand strong.
If you are interested in and of the products I referenced, you may contact me for more information. If you are hoping for free books, I can help you with that, as well (it’s easy and there is nothing to buy). If you would like to help me and other promote literacy, I can connect you with that, as well.
Usborne Books & More does not promote or endorse these statements or this webpage. They are a separate entity and the content within this post is for informational purposes only.