Back to school — as a real reader!

Before Finn’s third birthday last October, he was reading two-letter words off of index cards and sounding out three letter words with me as we read together. I was always enthusiastic; he was, as I saw it, occasionally reluctant. But after he told me one day that he “hated reading,” I paused, terrified. He’s always absolutely loved our nightly ritual of three or four books before bedtime, and I wasn’t willing to risk his joy — or mine. It was too important, too meaningful, too special. Besides, I figured, he’s at a Montessori school: he’ll make progress with it there.

Well… although he made progress in geography, in drawing, and in Spanish, his reading skills didn’t improve much by the end of the school year. So I resolved to make this summer a turning point for him. I used rewards, excessive cheerleading, LOTS of persistence, and quite of few deals (“if you help to read this one, I’ll read the next TWO,” or “Okay, we can stay up later to read ONE more — but only if you help”). I  took him regularly to the library to pick out tons of books, bought plenty of new ones, and got him to read “BOB” books with very simple words and sentences (albeit strange stories) that he can actually handle on his own (and, as a reward, color after he finishes). It’s working! When he returned to his preschool teacher last week, I was so excited to give her the news: Finn’s a reader now!

I’m so proud of you, Finch!