Reading it write
Since Bunny started school 8 weeks ago, her enthusiasm for writing and reading has gone through the roof. Every afternoon, she comes home and finds a blank piece of paper and writes. Usually her name, but often other letter-like formations. Sometimes they are clear and legible, but at other times they are not. As she is being taught to write cursively, the additional squiggles on each letter can make them a little tougher to decipher. I laugh when she asks me what a “word” says and I try to read it out but the combination of letters make it almost impossible. It’s great that she is trying, but it’s like learning a whole new language, trying to sound out these new words that she’s creating in her excitement at being able to write actual letters.
At the same time, her recognition of letters and ability to say the phonic sound for each one is also improving, with books that come home in her book bag each night proving less of a challenge each day. Of course, being able to sound out letters is not the same as reading, and there are always the ‘tricky’ letter sounds that throw her off course. But it is heartening to see her trying, and her zealous attempts to learn more.
I can’t wait for her to be able to read properly (as I say, sounding out the letters and combining them to make words, isn’t actually reading in my eyes, although I do recognise that this is the start of it). I loved books; I devoured books when I was a child. In fact, a quick look on my bookshelf tells me that I was reading What Katy Did and Jane Eyre at seven (from the gift dates in them), probably alongside every Enid Blyton that was ever published!
Yet, this passion for the written word is so difficult to explain to a four year old. I try to tell her that when she can read properly, every book in the library will open up to her; in fact, whole new worlds and experiences. But this doesn’t quite seem enough to describe the wonder of being able to read. After all, I can read to her so she’s not missing out entirely, but being able to just pick up a book, any book, and read it, now that’s something else altogether. I want to capture her exuberance, bottle it up and shake it to make it fizz and explode. I want her to know the true marvel of reading, of the fantasy world, of learning through the experiences of others. The world opens up, history opens up, cultures open up, even imaginary worlds open up. There is no limit to what can be discovered when you can read. I can’t wait to see that amazement in Bunny’s eyes.