To begin, we never intended our daughter to read early. I didn’t see the need for it. I always thought that reading is something we learn in school and not before school. However, all this changed when I caught her trying to read the word LIGHT. This was at a time when she already knew the sound of each alphabet letter because of the phonics videos we let her watch. I’ll tell you more about how she had early exposure on that in a little while.
Anyway, I was working online one afternoon, she was holding a book, and she said, “La – I – Guh – Huh – T”. She was trying to sound off each letter from the word LIGHT. She had a questioning look on her face, sort of waiting for me to confirm and say the word for her. Now how do I explain to a beginner that “La – I – Guh – Huh – T” reads LIGHT while “C – A – T” reads CAT.
That was when it hit me. I felt a bit guilty because she was ready to take it to the next level and I was the one holding back.
Along side with this, she would also ask us to read her favorite bedtime stories over and over, say about 6-8 times in a row. After a few days, we would be surprised on how she has memorized the whole thing. Verbatim. She would then hold the book on her own, recite the exact lines in the story, and follow the words on each page. This was her own technique of familiarizing herself with how the words look like. She was actually teaching herself how to sight-read. I was speechless.
So that same week, I went to the bookstore to look for something that supports early readers. “What am I doing? Seriously? For a 2-year-old? Isn’t it too early? They’ll certainly question this move. I probably should just go home.” These thoughts were shuffle playing in my head while I was searching the aisles of the kids’ section. Up to that point I was still undecided if I was doing the right thing. However, I also couldn’t ignore the signs she was showing. As much as I wanted her to just play, another part of me was telling me to follow her cues. So there I was, hoping to find a colorful, picture-filled phonics book that was not too textbookish. Something she can enjoy and not “study”. And thank goodness I found one! →