Little Girl informed me this week that she wants to learn to read, and wants me to teach her. I suppose I should not have been surprised; she has been trying to figure it out on her own for quite a while. Actually, she has a very good concept of the sounds that each letter makes and has started trying to decode words around us. I guess I just didn’t think that she would formally ask me to teach her to read, so I wasn’t prepared. I was relatively academically talented as a kid, but I don’t want to be “that mom” pushing my kids too hard just because I was successful at it. (Of course, neither do I want to get in the way of progress). I want my kids to be joyful, loving, sensible people. Literacy can wait. Unless she doesn’t want it to.
I had popsicle sticks, a Sharpie, and a paper cup. Little Girl had a head full of words that she wanted to recognize. Thus, Little Girl’s “Sight Words” cup was born. It is full of words and names from her environment.
She plays with this cup of popsicle sticks all the time. She puts them together and matches them up – Mommy/Daddy, her name with her brother’s, Sprout/Dog. Her favorite game to play together is when I lay out sticks and have her pick out the right one (can you find the word “cat?”). She chooses to play “school” almost every day when Little Guy naps, where she calls me Teacher and we have snack, art, music time, math, science, PE and reading. I also push her to school in a laundry bin, AKA the bus. She made up this game herself (or got it from her cousins when she visited them, more likely) and thinks it is the most fun thing she does all day.
When does school cease to be the most fun thing kids do all day? Speaking from a teacher perspective, is there a way to harness this joy in learning new things and let it carry through the schooling experience? When I send her off to school, I want it to feel just like a long day of playing her favorite game. Let’s make it happen.
Do your kids ever surprise you with the things they want to do for fun?