My husband, son, and I went to the public library (the one in our county, not the one where I work) today. I bring Little J., who will be four in July, all sorts of books from my library, but I like to take him to the other one so he can pick out books on his own. They also have puzzles and blocks and Legos and things, so he likes going there. It’s important that the library seems like a fun, pleasurable place to be – building good associations with reading, hopefully for a lifetime!
He’s been on a real dinosaur kick for a while now, and we’ve been checking out non-fiction books about them. I’ve learned more than I ever imagined I would about dinosaurs myself. It’s kind of fun, I have to admit! He chose four books about dinosaurs and one Duck and Goose book by Tad Hills. (We love the Duck and Goose books.)
At nap time my husband had Little J. in his lap, and they read the Rookie Reader book about velociraptors together. Little J. read most of the book BY HIMSELF. He had help on some bigger words, but he got most of it on his own. It was amazing. He’s been recognizing sight words for a few months now, but very recently he’s been able to start reading easy sentences. Hubby and I are, of course, thrilled and full of pride. It’s so cool to see J.’s development as a reader.
A friend of mine asked me last night how we nurtured J. into a reader at such a young age. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. We have books around the house – our own and our son’s. (His bookshelf is insane.) We go to the library together. We model reading for him, as both of us are readers ourselves. We’ve read to J. ever since he was born – every single night, and most nap times as well. We read a lot of the same books over and over, and that fosters familiarity with words. We’ve used a dry erase board to write letters and numbers and words, and our son enjoys doing that. I even have a terrific app on my phone called Endless Reader that my son likes, and I truly think it helped him recognize sight words.
It’s some combination of genetics and our actions that’s leading him into reading early. Whatever the cause, I’m so excited. I have to be careful and dial it down a bit because I’m such a crazy book lady. I don’t want to push him, or make reading a chore in any way. All I can do is model my own love of reading and hopefully, together, we’ll find great books that we can share and enjoy as he gets older.