The first day of our vacation in Seattle I sat downstairs watching the sunrise and basking in the quiet. An hour into the stillness I started to hear the perky voice of my four year old daughter, but no other. I stealthily walked up the stairs and found her reading aloud her alphabet book that I had read to her at the airport the day before. It left me in awe that spending 20 minutes with my daughter the day before working on alphabetic principles would have lasting affect. She has dragged that book around with her all day. She is ready and eager to learn.
Last year Chase entered Kindergarten. Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes happened to be one of the books that he favored in the follow along on CD station. He insisted on buying the book at the book fair, and to get away from Thomas the Train for a day I was only too pleased. A year later he chooses to read Pete over some of his other previous favorites. For Christmas I decided that we would expand his Pete the Cat library with Pete’s Big Lunch. Tonight we snuggled on the bed and Chase and Emma helped read to Grandma’s beautiful SpringerSpanial Zoe. It became even more apparent that Emma puts many pre-literacy skills in place.
One integral aspect of reading comprehension is the ability to answer the key questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how. This is a skill that Chase struggles with at school. In his last DRA this key skill became glaringly absent. Gratitude to his teacher filled my being for sharing this bit of insight. It has become an important part of our nightly reading routine. Tonight I did most of the reading, however every once in a while I would pause and the two of them would finish the phrase. Periodically they were wrong, and I would have Chase read the word. The book is simple, it is one that for the most part he knows all of the words, and those that he doesn’t I help him sound out. One of his strengths is his ability to sound out the phonetics of a word, it is almost as strong as his ability to stretch out the words. As I read I would pause and ask one of the six essential questions of the night. I made a point of asking each child the question, otherwise they would have had a contest on who could answer the fastest, and an argument would inevitably ensue. Emma is quick to the draw. Chase struggles with expressive and receptive language and it often takes him longer to answer. I can always tell when he struggles with an answer. He taps his lip and says, “Hmmmm, Emma do you know?” She quickly chimes in, and he happily repeats her answer. I love their competitive nature, so many of Chase’s developmental progress has been egged on by this competition. I love how they lean on each other for support even more.