Sunday 2 July 2017

And then, Johnny reads...

This post is not about any of our typical DIY activities, instead, just a personal note..and indeed very special.

In January'17, we had published our views on early reading and how we had introduced Anouk to the world of letters and phonics, starting when she was 18 months and how we were just beginning to learn the blending of sounds to form the words, when she was around 22 months. By Jan end, Anouk could read most three letter C-V-C (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) words, though very slowly,  (with parents pointing out the letters) but very methodically. We went on creating word list after word list (courtesy: Larry Sanger's essay and word list database). The word list were created originally from Flesch word list and were very well organised. Apart from teaching Anouk how to form a word, it also introduced a huge world of vocabulary together with the aid to how to form a sentence with it. 

And not to mention the book reading - her reading interest elevated from small story books to elaborate story books, leaving the parents pretty tired after every reading session. We were literally exhausted from reading 4-5 books (big ones at that) at one go, and were trying to convince her after the 5th book, that its time to do other activities (which demanded a little less of our energy) J One thing that changed during our reading together, was that, we now started trailing our fingers under the words whenever we read books and after a while even if we accidentally removed our fingers in between (may be to scratch our head), Anouk was quick to drag our fingers back to the page J And apart from the reading sessions, kiddo will be seen simply browsing through the books by herself, a lot, through out the day.

With all these, there was one thing that left the parents set wondering--apart from the initial independent reading that Anouk demonstrated with the three letter words, she refused any further attempts we made, to get her read further words, all by herself. While she easily blended two-syllable, three-syllable, mutli-words etc, when we sounded them out, she did not show much interest in reading out those words by herself. Even a gentle push from the parents, like, "Hey, try if you can read this by yourself" was met with with a cheeky "Amma, you read it" replies.. And so, even after happily blending several hundreds of words, we(actually the mother-creature) decided to give up my attempts to make her read independently and pacified ourselves that she'll start reading whenever she wants to and additionally found solace in the fact that the kid still loved learning new word list on a daily basis. So far so good. All the while, the extraordinarily-cool father-figure tried to convince me saying "She knows these words. She doesn't read all the silly three letter words that you show her, because she find them, well, silly". The words in discussion were bag, cat, pet, zip etc. Anyway, me being me, I would still try to get her read the above said words and the like, from time to time, and met invariably with smirks, running away-s, and some blatant "Amma, no!"-s. 

Then, the sun rose on the morning of Sunday, July 2, 2017. Anouk was a bit under fever the previous night, though showed no signs of tiredness. After waking up and getting the usual wish of a bottle-of-milk-in-bed, unusually granted, Anouk was in a true sunny Sunday mood. When she saw the latest wordlist, which I had cut out early that morning and left on the dining table, she just picked the cards (this set of words was for "al" sound). When (as usual) I began to sound them out, she declared.."Amma, dont read; Scout reads..".
"Huh, what..."
 And she started one by one, while moving her fingers swiftly under the letters...
 "s-t-a-l-k...stalk, ch-a-l-k...chalk, h-a-l-t...halt, m-a-l-t...malt, s-m-a-ll....small"
and a few more and when done, casually kept the word cards back on sofa and moved to the next demand.. "Lets say wakey-wakey to Achachan"...
And I was too shocked to respond. All the while I was trying to get her read the simple three letter words and the little rascal is blending fluently and reading words like stalk, chalk etc.. Its a beautiful feeling when I can really laugh at myself. Later in the day, both of us made her read through another new set, to witness and convince ourselves. 

So, finally, at 29 months, Anouk had started reading out the words all by herself, moving her fingers underneath the letters, and not necessarily sounding out all the individual sounds (might be blending in her head). As I said in the beginning, just a personal update and a happy note. Happy reading for the days and years to come ! J