November 25, 2003

R is for Read

Tonight Damian looked at his Bob the Builder cup. For once he wasn't checking out Muck the bulldozer. (His usual comment: "Muck is on every Bob the Builder thing. Even my underpants.") This time he was reading. "F--iii---xxx. Fix. That says Fix. Want to know how I know that? Because it start with an F and F is fff, and then there's an I and I is iii and then it has an X, which is kx. So that's how I know it says Fix." He went on to read "it" and then "Dig it" on the other side of the cup.

The other day, he started reading his carton of milk. "Hoe-rii-zone," he said. He got the vowel sounds wrong, but that's one of those bizarre vagaries of language, after all. He got the rest right. And then he drank up his Horizon brand milk with gusto, having for the first time learned its proper name.

There's something so miraculous about this ordinary moment in the life of a child. Starting to fit letters into words, starting to make sense out of the curves and lines he sees all around him. It's like deciphering a map, decoding a foreign language. Opening a new set of eyes. In a way, it feels impossible. As impossible as taking a first breath, learning to use the potty, learning to talk. It's one of those huge steps that separate before from after.

My kid is beginning to really, truly read. Tonight he said, "Yeah, because I'm learning at school." Then he said, "When I'm a grownup, if my kid wants to read books, I'll read to him every day." I believe him, too.

Posted by Tamar at November 25, 2003 09:14 PM