Gorilla Girl and Monkey Man spent the summer without any scheduled activities — no summer school, day camp, lessons, or classes. Our summer was about as unstructured as they come, and we needed it. So, I have been surprised at the development of pre-reading skills in Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl, despite my lack of programmatic input.
Monkey Man seems on the verge of reading. Twice, as we walked into town, he noticed the sign outside of Viola’s Cafe, and commented, “The Cafe is open.” When asked how he knew, he replied, “The sign says O-P-E-N, that means open.” The first time, I thought it might be a fluke — there were other hints that the cafe was open. But, it happened a second time.
He’s made other similar comments. When we visited a friend with a beach house, on our tour of the rooms, Monkey Man declared, “The sign points to the beach.” We asked how he knew, and he said, “See, that sign says B-E-A-C-H, that means beach.”
His final in the trilogy of word recognition happened today at the grocery store. A sign painted sideways on a shelf read: C-O-O-K-I-E-S. Monkey Man spelled it out, letter by letter, then said, “Mommy, this sign is for the cookie monster.”
There are other words he knows — cars, LEGO, and a host of three-letter simple words. He can spell his name, first and last.
I worry that we watch too many kids shows, but at least we avoid advertising, and between reading books and watching kids shows and movies, and simply playing (and paying attention), Monkey Man is well on his way to working on the pre-reading skills that will help him in his second year of nursery school.
Gorilla Girl does not have quite the same interest in spelling, but she is writing, and asking me to write words that she likes (like princess) so she can copy and imitate. She is quite good at writing her name (with the exception of the S that is inevitably backwards), and she is making progress on remembering how to spell a few words, too. I suppose that is a different interest in letters and words, more on the creative and graphomotor end of the spectrum.
We’ve not been as attentive to learning Vietnamese this summer, and now that summer is at its end, we have to get back to that, but GG and MM still can count to ten in Vietnamese, and to 20 or 30 in English. We’re all about reading and writing here, so our focus isn’t so much on math, though we add and subtract all the time when negotiating toy use and i-pad time-sharing.
I am not sure if a more scheduled summer would have led to even more growth in literacy development, but I am happy with the progress MM and GG have made, and even more, I am interested in its on-doing development with the kind of play-focused input they will have in nursery this year. As an early reader myself, it is fascinating to watch the development in our two very different children when it comes to literacy.
When did you learn to read? What are your earliest reading memories?