Monday, May 4, 2009

My Hardy Boys

Not many people can say their child came with a book. We can. Most of the clothing John had when he came to us did not fit, but he had a sweet cardboard book about P.B. Bear. We have no idea in which of his many homes he acquired the book or his love of stories, but both came with him at the ripe old age of twenty months.

John always eagerly curled up beside us as we read to him from any number of books. It was a good thing because it encouraged good, appropriate touch and helped form some of the elusive attachment he so desperately needed with any caregiver. One cardboard book gave way to two or three cardboard books a night. That gave way to multiple picture books.... and then we graduated to chapter books and illustrated/abridged classics.

Nearly every night of his life with us, John has begged for more reading. While homeschooling, there are times, especially rainy days, that we declare it a reading day and take turns reading to each other. The ratio is something like five to one and I end up reading aloud till my throat is raw. John's been listening to chapter books since he was four. We've read through some of his favorites more than once. Though he understood little of the language specifically, he still enjoyed listening to Tom Sawyer just as old Mark Twain wrote it.

With all of John's mood changes, rages, difficulties and anxieties it has been hard for him to learn to read. I think that his well-ingrained love of stories has kept him motivated somewhere deep inside to persevere through the process. He's suddenly reading billboards and signs on buildings to his own surprise and delight. We can no longer spell things in front of him.

Though this is all happening a little behind his same-age peers, it is the same developmental process. We are on the cusp of watching him flip that switch to becoming a completely autonomous reader. The key then will be, as it is for all children once they can read, whether or not they want to read. I'm pretty sure John's got that part in the bag.

I think it's apt that a boy who's had to endure so much would particularly enjoy reading a series about the Hardy boys. I hope that autonomous reading switch flips soon because while Kate DiCamillo is a joy to read aloud, Frank W. Dixon's mysteries severely trip up both of John's parents' tongues.


Molly Sabourin said...

Oh, Holly! What a gift you are giving to your son!! Fostering within him a love for well written stories while allowing him the freedom to develop at his own distinct pace without pressure or embarrassment will not only fortify his self-confidence but also strengthen the bond between the two of you. What a marvelous example of homeschooling at its finest. :)

MamaHolly said...

Thank you, Molly! That was so sweet of you to say. I'll have to come read this the next time I start playing the old nasty, sinful comparison game.