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Unlocking the code

November 4, 2011 - Kristy MacKaben
Reading is just like every other milestone: talking, walking, going potty. When you have a kindergartener, it's almost like you have a toddler all over again. While some moms brag about their 5 and 6-year-olds breezing through Junie B. Jones books, other moms are silently wondering "When the heck is my kid going to learn how to read?" Like almost every milestone, reading comes when your kid is ready. I truly believe this now, though it took me a long time to come to this realization. I was kind of a cocky first-time mom when Julie was a toddler. She was recognizing letters, numbers, colors and shapes before she was 18 months, so I was completely convinced I had an early reader on my hands. Three years of preschool and lots of frustration later, I realize it's not so easy. Kids are different and reading is much more than memorization. Your kid could know all the letters and letter sounds, including blends and understand the difference between the vowels and consonants, but they still might not "get it." This was pretty much the case with Julie. She memorized her sight words with no problem and had known all her letter sounds since she was 2, but putting all these skills together was not happening. No matter how much we worked on it, reading phonetically was not coming easily to Julie. Then, it happened. Two months into kindergarten and she's getting it! I knew Julie was recognizing words and sounding out words occasionally, but I didn't fully grasp her progress...until one night a couple weeks ago. "Mommy I know how to spell fox," Julie told me out-of-the-blue. "F-O-X." "And I know how to spell Box. B-O-X." Impressed, I decided to put her skills to the test and I started writing full sentences including words she had to sound out phonetically. She read pretty much every word, sentence and paragraph. I was beyond elated! My little girl had unlocked the code. Every child comes to this stage, whether it's early, late or right on time. For parents, it's such a proud and magical moment. She's on her way!!


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