When I think about Kate's reading, I start with thinking about how much I have always loved reading myself. One of my earliest memories is going to kindergarten and imagining that I was going to learn how to read, but in those days they didn't start teaching reading until first grade.
When Kate was born, I started reading to her right away. I wondered if I was jumping the gun on this, but when she was six months old we started reading a couple of books a night. I always thought that because I loved reading, Kate would be the same. Then again, I met my stepdaughters when they were 4 and 6 and I was a little surprised that they were reluctant readers. I wondered why they just didn't jump into reading like I had. When they grew to be teenagers, I talked to them about it and they told me that by third or fourth grade, things just clicked into place and they wouldn't put books down.
In kindergarten, Kate and I read the little (leveled) readers at home that they read in school and then in first grade the same. Kate was progressing, although slowly. I found out that she had been reading with you and her teacher suggested I talk with you, and that's when our relationship began. I can't thank you enough. I've been thinking about what has helped Kate move ahead and here are a few of my thoughts.
First of all you and Kate have clicked. You've taken the time to listen to her and get a sense of where she's at and what will help her. You've also given us books that we both enjoy and that she can read--books that are more interesting and fun than the simple leveled books. Kate can also be quiet. She kind of goes with the flow, and sometimes that means she can get lost in the shuffle. Her time with you really turned that around.
Kate is also very focused on the "level" she reads, and she can tell you where every single kid in the class is reading ... "so and so is a C" or a D, or a J. Reading other books beside the little level D readers has helped her see that she's a better reader than she might have thought.
Watching you read with Kate was huge! Before Kate was born, I was going to school to be Montessori teacher for kids 2 1/2 to 5 years old. We were taught to follow the child. When Kate started to read, I would just listen and maybe do a little correcting but basically I was letting Kate work it out and struggle with the difficult words.
You made it more fun quite frankly, and you were so accurate when you said that readers will lose the flow of the story if you focus so much on individual words. You let me know that I could make it more fun and not so hard, and that it was okay for me to read along with her in some parts. I learned to lighten up a little.
I really do believe Kate will be an excellent reader. We care about her and her success and it feels like she's following the path of her big sisters.
I'm so glad you can see how summer gets so crazy. She didn't always read on her own as much as we'd planned, but I never give up on reading to her because it's such a nice way to end the day. She just hunkers right down beside me and snuggles up. It's good to know it's the reading that's important, no matter who is reading to whom. This all makes her feel really special. I just love this kid!
Thanks so much, Kathy, for taking time with Kate. You are the best!