Monday, March 22, 2010
The seven year old is learning to read.
This may seem late to some of you.
We chose Waldorf education, so for that model she's right on schedule.
She is thrilled. It's exciting.
"I can read Mama!"
She wants to show me.
We go to the library and get some first readers.
We chose Bob's Books.
They are black and white with line drawings.
Cute little stories about cats on mats and jigging pigs.
I remember learning to read. It was stressful.
I compared myself to other 'better' readers in my class.
I could feel my parents frustration as I stumbled over words.
I wanted to read so badly but it was hard, so I guessed from the pictures.
I want so desperately for that not to be the seven year olds experience.
It's one of the reasons she's in a Waldorf school.
So I embrace a very casual attitude.
"Sure, I'd love to have you read to me, whenever you're ready."
"You pick out the books you like sweetie."
I am the model of uncompetitive enthusiasm.
Until we sit down.
The first page goes well.
'Jig is a pig.'
"Oooh you're reading! Nice job."
(OK maybe a little too enthusiastic but remember I'm overcompensating so it's required.)
'Jig likes to dig.'
"A digging pig - how interesting!" I say.
Neutral comment - very encouraging but with no pressure attached - I have this down.
'Dig, Jig, dig.'
She can read the first dig and then she gets stuck.
"Sound it out lovey"
She starts to fidget.
"I can't do it" she declares.
"We'll do it together" I soothe.
My adult brain can't see the problem. She has already read both these words. The first and the last word are the same.
The middle word is only one letter different and the name of the pig we're reading about.
It's easy, she can do this.
Wait a minute. Is that frustration pulsing through my veins? Is that a judgemental tone?
Once again, I'm having a full circle moment.
THIS IS INFURIATING!!
It's the SAME word.
Did I really just blurt, "Don't guess, just read it."
In this moment I am the child feeling my parents frustration and the frustrated parent.
I close the book.
"That was great and you worked so hard but let's have a snack before we do more."
Better. I talk to her classmates mom's. Their kids are doing the exact same thing.
I think I might leave this learning to read stuff to her teacher for a few more weeks...