Today was a major breakthrough day. Today I used every ounce of skill and brain power to help Seth over a hump in school. Today I pat myself on the back because in no way do I have any extraordinary talent and ability to teach. But today I taught.
I think I even deserved a gummy worm.
Much like the thrill of that first time a parent witnesses the baby steps of of their toddler - or some other equally wonderful milestone - I witnessed Seth READ his first word. Then his second word. Then his third through sixth word. It was extremely rewarding. I had to coax and cajole; he resisted. I persisted. He was able to sound out each individual letter in the word cut, but was not able to put the word together.
After several minutes of sounding out each letter, with him informing me that "that's enough now, mom", he finally said the word cut. I screamed and hollered and danced. Hannah came running out of her room to join in the rejoicing. Seth's eyeballs got big as it dawned on him what he just did. And then miracle of all miracles, he asked to do another word.
There was even joy in heaven. Daddy was called. Sirens went off. Fireworks exploded.
After he read cut, he went on to read cat, dog, lot and cub. He then ran out of his room later on with the word zip on something and read it to me. It was glorious.
Prior to this I had been using flashcards to go through the entire alphabet, mixing up each letter, just to see how many letters he really could name. He can sound out more letters than he can name (although he knows entire the alphabet verbally, he does not recognize all of the letters). It was during this time that I gained more insight as to how his brain worked. When holding up the "Y" flashcard, he said, "I know that letter is right before Z", and with the letter "W" he said, "Hmmm, that letter is definitely at the end of the alphabet." He cracked me up. For other letters he didn't recognize immediately, like "M", "N" and "P", he would recite the alphabet until he got to that letter and usually stop suddenly and shout out the correct letter. He is definitely very visual in his learning (he asked to see the entire alphabet as he looked at the flashcards of individual letters, which I didn't allow because I wanted to see which letters he didn't know).
And the funniest little ritual of all? To try to help him remember the short "E" sound, I was singing a silly song using the word elephant and making the short "E" sound over and over. So, when he came to any blends that had the short "E" sound in it, he would recite this little saying in order to remember the correct short "E" sound:
"The elephant likes red eggs, e......e......e.."
How is that for hilariously unique?
After the celebration ended and he got his gummy worms - which he promptly formed the letters "S", "U" and "V" with - we finished school for the day and he went to play. His little brain was still working, though, because he suddenly ran out, shouting:
"MOM! I KNOW ANOTHER WORD! B.......U.......G..........BUG! PRETTY COOL, MOM, RIGHT?!"
I laughed so hard (without him seeing, of course), because he hadn't been reading at all. He just sounded out the word and thought this was just like reading the word.
As the day is ending, I heave a heartfelt sigh. It's been a good day. A rewarding day. And I go to bed with a smile and sense of accomplishment.