Several months ago we started teaching Oliver to read. We started by having him “read” a verse of scripture – the shortest one of the 4 we would be reading that night. We told him that t-h-e spells “the” and that a-n-d spells “and.” We added more and more sight words as he more or less mastered them, and then encouraged him to start sounding words out, experimenting with the vowel sounds until he struck on a word that sounded familiar.
He has made lots and lots of progress during that time. He can sound words out pretty well, and has even implemented some of the strategies that Simon brings home from school – like chunking words out or stretching the sounds or looking for smaller words in the big words. It is difficult with some books to know if he is reading, or if he has memorized the stories from the few times we have read them together (which definitely happens), but it has been really exciting to see him gain confidence and to try to read on his own.
In the past few weeks, however, it has become more and more obvious that he is truly reading. More than once I’ve caught him with a book sounding things out. And sometimes he’ll bring a book to me and ask me to help him with a word that he hasn’t quite been able to get on his own. And that’s pretty exciting. Can’t wait until he’s good enough that I can have him entertain Elsa with his amazing reading skills . . . assuming Elsa ever learns to sit still long enough to get through more than a few pages.