There have been plenty of signs in recent weeks that D has been working on something big, developmentally. It’s hard to not get frustrated with him when his behaviour is difficult or he is prone to outbursts or just seems to be endlessly tired. I have to work hard to remind myself that a big developmental leap is lurking around the corner and he’s working hard to perfect whatever it is that is going on.
In the last week to ten days, the leap has finally revealed itself as a huge step up in his reading ability. He is able to read pretty fluently now and is in the beginning stages of taking notice of punctuation and the such. He has moved onto reading chapter books and is delighting in this new found ability. I am not convinced his comprehension is at quite the same level, but we are encouraging the reading and comprehension is something we will work on in a much more formal way in the autumn.
We are really moving on with taking the next step and his desire to read has seen him carry a stool into the bathroom whilst my mum helped me bath Em and Harry! You really can’t stop a child learning when they want to.
I wanted to share what our approach is at the moment, as I think, from the conversations I’ve had, getting a child to read feels like a momentous achievement and I often have people ask me how we have achieved this with Daniel.
Ths simple answer is – we have read, and read and read. Not a day goes by when he isn’t sat looking through books, and now sitting reading them. He spends a couple of hours a day reading. We are regular visitors to the library and we read all manner of books. We use books as the basis for crafts and play and have done so from a young age. He sees me reading and sees the pile of books I am working my way through.
We didn’t follow a particular programme but did try a number of things like Reading Eggs and the Reading Chest subscription was instrumental for him in getting him really going. Things just seemed to click for him earlier in the year and now, this last week or so, he is that much more confident and fluent in his reading. When his Panda Post arrives each week he tears it open and giggles away as he first reads it to himself then reads it aloud to his siblings.
Now we are moving on to longer chapter books we tend to share the reading; it makes it a less overwhelming task for him and he can still enjoy the being read to element too. There’s something quite special about sharing the reading of a longer chapter book together. We really like the Unicorn Academy books from Nosy Crow at the moment and are part way through one of those. These have the added benefit of keeping Em engaged too whilst Daniel practises his reading.
I am of course keeping one eye on when Em has that sudden leap in development for reading. I don’t think we will push anything until early next year, but, like her older brother, she loves reading and is often found with her head in a book or reciting stories from memory. She can recognise all her letters and can discriminate sounds in words too, so I am sure when she gets going she’ll be away.
In the next week or two, most likely towards the end of the half term break, we are going to make a start on the Mrs Wordsmith social journey pack. I am really looking forward to seeing how this works for them both – I’m already a big fan of the original Mrs Wordsmith packs and am looking forward to seeing how this social journey develops for both D and E. I’ve not yet thought about how I will do it all, but I think I might make use of the project boards we have and use those to create a word wall. It certainly looks fab and I’m thrilled to be trialling this as an ambassador for them. You’ll be able to read about how we get on with this soon.
Learning to read is such an exciting development stage for both parents and children and I think it’s the achievement I am most proud of so far.