When I was a young mother, I was intent on starting my baby on a lifelong love of reading which meant that as soon as Alexis—my first child—was born I would sit on my comfy rocking chair and hold her while I read to her. I started with Dr. Suess' ABC book and by the time she was a few months old she could recognize letters and she was able to read before her brother was born 2 years later. I wasn't until much later that I discovered this was NOT the norm.
I recall how shocked my mother was when Alexis was sitting with me at the kitchen table at my mother's home with the Sunday paper in front of us. Alexis was looking at the supermarket advertisement and said, “Mommy, you should get turkey, it's on sale this week for $0.29 a pound.”
My mother nearly dropped the dishes she was washing. “How did she know that?”
“Well, it's right there in the ad,” I explained.
“But...she can't know how to read!” Mom said. “She's not even three years old!”
“Well, she does a little with small words. It's easy for her with this. Look, she saw the picture of the turkey and she knows her numbers and she put 2 and 2 together and came up with...”
“With turkey on sale for $0.29 per pound?” Mom shrieked. “That's incredible!”
I merely laughed. It seemed perfectly normal to me to have a 2 year old who could read. Of course, it was a whole other story with the boys. Brandon, our second child, was a bit of a terror. That is to say, he would not sit still for more time than a diaper change would allow, and even then it was a struggle. He was non-stop, hyper-as-you-can-get from the moment he woke up until it was time to sleep for the night. He rarely even took naps and he NEVER would allow me to read to him... ever.
Justin was yet a different story all together. When we discovered he had autism, we were far more concerned with him behaving, learning and speaking in any normal way and not so worried about his reading skills...if they ever came. Reading to him just never really happened, although in time he has learned how to read at about a 2nd -3rd grade level which is fine with us...it could have been far worse.
When Tyler came around—2 ½ months premature to make everything even more challenging for us-- I was so busy with keeping up with Justin behaviors, Brandon's hyper activity and still trying to encourage Alexis' near brilliance, that I can't recall ever reading much to him. Tyler was more like Alexis than his brothers, however. He became a great reader, though I do not take credit for it.
So, it turned out not surprising that two of our boys were not great readers and never will be. Alexis, also not surprising, had been voracious. We couldn't buy books quick enough for her and we still have boxes and boxes full of Boxcar Children mysteries, Goosebumps, Babysitter's club and The American Girl book series. Tyler, on the other hand liked history books, crime thrillers, mysteries and Sci-fi stuff.
I suppose two out of four is fair. The thing which upsets me is Alexis doesn't seem to read much at all anymore. So where does the starting them young to make them lifelong readers come into play?
It didn't work out that way for Alexis, but Tyler still loves John Grisham, Stephen King, Tom Clancey and the like, plus anything to do with WWII.
Just goes to show, you do the best you can as a parent, but it isn't up to you what comes of it.
©2016 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved