It’s day 4 of the first week of school and we’re happily settling back into our routine after a loooong summer holiday. Harry has bought his first set of readers home today and is keen to read them.
I love readers and find them brilliant for repetitive modeling as the first sentence of each page is usually the same. Sometimes I model, sometimes we just read. Sometimes I point to each word, sometimes H points. We just enjoy the quiet time together, although there is usually a nosy little 3 year old butting in, but that’s all part of the fun!
Today’s first reader was called “I am Big”. I popped it on my lap and knowing that Harry can say “I” and “a” sounds I pointed slowly to the first two words in the title and paused to give him time to say each word.
When Harry points to a word and makes a sound, we always assume that he has said the correct word and congratulate him. Just because verbally it doesn’t sound like the actual word doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know that word. For all I know it may sound perfect in his head, it’s just his muscles that aren’t delivering the word verbally the way we would expect. (Least dangerous assumption and all that good stuff.)
But of course I’m just human, and I’m also his mum, so when he does say a word that sounds close to what’s written, it’s a pretty thrilling moment.
As we’re on a roll with H saying “I” and an “a” sound for “am”, I point to “big” and do a nice Hanen-esq pause. And without missing a beat…
H 📢 : bigag
M: Harry, did you just read big? (I ask excitedly)
H📢: yea (delivered completely nonplussed with a not-so-subtle undertone of “obviously mum”)
And there you have it, we can never assume to know what our kids do or don’t know. It’s so much harder for them to show us all the wonderful things that they’re learning so we have no choice but to keep teaching them and keep believing that they are learning. The alternative is simply not an option.