Apr 3, 2010

My Three-Year-Old Reader


Bea "reading"
Today, Bea, my three-year-old daughter, read to me and her daddy. The book was Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat."

No, Bea is no genius. The truth is, as accurate as her story was, she wasn't "following the words," as her brother Josh would say, which meant that she wasn't reading the actual text. She was simply reciting what she remembered from the story.

Ah, but even though she couldn't decode the letters yet, she knew where the front of the book was, and she knew that books opened from left to right. She pointed at the little black marks in the book, knowing that they stood for words. And she knew that when the words disappeared, the blank page meant "The End."

This is what is called "early literacy" -- a child's awareness of what a book is, what letters are, how they are arranged, and how they are used.

Then, there is "genuine love for reading," which means exactly what it says. This is what motivates a child to open a book all by herself and "read" it to mommy and daddy without being asked to, even before she can follow the words.

Develop these two skills -- early literacy and genuine love for reading -- early in your child, and the rest of the reading skills will follow. Develop them too late, and your child may never catch up. [Source]

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