I love real life learning. I love learning as you’re doing something. My kid can spell and write his name and I’ve never taught him how. I’ve just read to him since he was… well, born, probably! I hated reading aloud and having people listen to me before he was born, but he was just a baby, so it was easy to force myself to push past that and read aloud to him all the time. He learned how to properly hold board books when he was several months old, and turn the thick pages. He memorized a short book when he was 2. I’m not saying he’s brilliant, but… haha, kidding! He is very smart, and I’m sure some of that is genetics, but a lot of it is just exposure to books.
Every night we read three stories before bed. He loves this time so much that I can use it to help keep his behavior in line. Attitude, whining? “No stories tonight…” “No, I want stories!” And the attitude goes away (usually…). There have been nights where stories were revoked and he gets really upset about it and I want to give in and read to him because… it’s reading! But usually he straightens up and we get to enjoy stories together.
He loves helping “read” stories he knows well, or filling in words based on the pictures. He can write and spell his own name, and identify those letters on pages, but we’re still working on reading. Well, actually we’re not. I don’t know how to teach reading, so I just read to him as much as he’s interested in it, and hope that exposure will be enough. I’m sure his school will teach things a certain way.
I don’t remember how I learned to read, do you? I remember having my parents read to me all the time, even after I could read to myself. But I don’t remember learning. I don’t remember the first book I read myself. It just seems like something that happened naturally, and I’m sure it did – I went to kindergarten when it was still a lot of real-life play in kitchen spaces, and sharing in circle time. Now from what I’ve seen, kids are supposed to be well on their way to reading and writing when they start kindergarten so they can complete worksheets and help schools hit those all-important statistics.
I’ve read some good ideas online about still reading with your kids even after they can read. Of course most people like being read to even as adults – think about audiobooks! But I also read about a mom who has a “book club” at night with her kids, where they all read their own books in her bed, together but silently. I love the importance and enjoyment this adds to reading together, and look forward to being able to do that soon!