Reading challenge.

Eliot's homework for today included pointing to each word of a book as I read it to him. His class is learning to recognize certain words by sight and learning to understand the way the text on a page is split into words and sentences and read from top to bottom, left to right. Some of these ideas he's already familiar with; I've read to him at home since before he was born. We do quite a lot of reading around here.

It's so exciting to watch him learning and beginning to grasp the concepts he needs in order to read. He can already read quite a few words, but he tends to be rather self-defeatist about the whole endeavor. (My kid? Surely not!) His teacher sent home little "books" last week, illustrated with various animals trying on shoes and each two-page spread repeated the text, "Does it fit? Will it fit him?" When I told Eliot reading the book to me was part of his homework, I thought he was going to cry. He puckered up and whined, "But I DON'T KNOW HOOOOOW TO REEEEEAD..." I asked him to please just look at the words and assured him that I would help him with the ones he didn't know. He read, haltingly, "Does...it...fit? Will...it...fit...him?" over and over, all by himself until he got to the end of the book and looked up at me, amazed. "Mom!" he said, "When I grow up, I might be a person who works in a library because I CAN READ!"

I was so stinking proud in that moment.

I remember exactly the moment that I realized I could read, and it was the exact same kind of joyous revelation. I was sitting on the couch in our family room, and whining to my mom to get her to read a book to me. She was busy in the kitchen making supper, and she kept calling in at me, "Sit down and look at it yourself, Rachel, you can read it!" And I was all, "Nooooo, I cannnnnnn't! wah wah wah." Finally, I opened the book (It was called The Animals at the Zoo.) with a pissy attitude that slowly became less and less pissy when I discovered, page after page, that I recognized the words. A slow, begrudging smile stretched across my face and I yelled into the kitchen, "I CAN REAAAD! MOM! I CAN READ!"

It cracks me up that this seems to be the exact same path Eliot is following. (Well, cracks me up AND breaks my heart.)

But however he gets there, learning to read is so magical. Being able to read opens up so many worlds. Providing a home where reading is encouraged and loved and treasured is one of the most important gifts I can give to my son.

Here's what we're each into at the moment:

This year I've been keeping track of all the books I read (and getting new recommendations) at Goodreads. I've set a goal with the Goodreads Reading Challenge to read 40 books this year, and so far I'm only at 22. (Not counting the books I read with Eliot, of course. Pretty sure that would put me far over my goal!)

Got any suggestions for me?

I'm LOVING Let the Great World Spin so far. It's beautifully written.

Connect with me on Goodreads here, if you like, and let me know what you're reading too. :)

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