“I want to read this book!” Zander emphatically stated his position to Maura. “How do you read?”
“Well, Zander. You have to sound out the letters and put them together. Ask your brother Zane how he learned to read.”
“Zane, how did you read?” he asked in his most innocent little boy voice.
“Uhm. Well.. you just…”
It’s hard to explain dogged tenacity to a four year old. That’s how Zane learned. The kid literally willed himself to read. He pushed harder than either Maura or I could have imagined pushing a kid to learn. He flat out wanted it and refused to believe that it was beyond him. He never became frustrated over long or difficult words. He plowed ahead.
His work has payed off in spades. At the ripe old age of not yet 8 here’s a smattering: Harry Potter (the series), Percy Jackson (the series), Lemony Snickets — books 1 and 2 (he kind of lost interest), some series about a martial arts kid, The Mysterious Benedict Society (books one and two) and the list goes on.
“Zander,” I stepped in, “first you have to sound out all of the letters. Let’s try this one. What sound does m make?”
“mmmm,” we said together.
“a, a, a” (make the sound of the short a. I don’t know how to write it.)
“And what about t? What sound does t make?”
“t, t, t” (Again, how do you write a t sound? Just work with me here.)
“And then you put them all together to make a word. mmm–aaa–ttt, mm–aa–tt, m-a-t, mat. And there you have it.”
“I got it,” he said. “I’m going to get a book.”
He came back into the room with a short story book ready to read.
“Well, Zander. That’s not all there is. You’ve still got your blends and digraphs.”
“Yeah, Zander,” Zane chimed in. “Blends like s and h ….
I know you’ve heard that one a lot!!”