For our daughter, all the first experiences were a lot of work. Until she wasn’t really ready to do it, she wouldn’t wanted to try. The same happend of course with reading. Months after she learned the alphabet and she could wrote entire words or phrases, she was still not determinated to try reading them.
We tried everything; telling her that a story is a marvel and it let you “see” wonders beyond your horizon; that by reading something and not listen to others telling you about it is a sure way to get the story right, the real facts or the truth. Because we as individuals may understand different the same information; that reading alone give her independence, she doesn’t have to wait for us to read to her, she can read whatever she wants when she wants.
Then I started writing her small notes, then bigger ones and I would hide them in her backpack or a place we both knew it and she would read them and even respond to them. With a heart sign or with a text saying that I have to write more clear, she doesn’t understand all of my letters 🙂
And then, one day, the miracle happened: she took one of her favourite books and started reading. All on her own. I was so happy and thought that my work was done and I can go on a remote island 🙂 Then the school started, all the new experiences were a set back in everything, including reading alone. We let it be, since we understood that she needs time and energy to focus in dealing with all the new things and people and emotions. Until last week, when a new book with Mr. Paddington, the bear from the darkest Peru, appeared.
She started reading the new book and she kept reading until she red the last page. It was so much joy in her eyes, to be able to do that and she didn’t want to stop before it was done.
It was very funny to watch her having the same problem in reading the word Paddington, every time she would encouter it. Now she is able to read the requirements of all her school related activities and she understands almost all of them.
As a personal conclusion I can say that, of course, every little human has his own pace and rythm and they will start reading when they are ready, not when we want them to do it.
For us it really helped to have books with her favourite characters. And little text on the pages. And a big font. And funny stories or rhymes. And our patience, not our pressure. You cannot help a child by telling him that he has to read because X does it or you want him to do it. He will do it when he is ready for that experience and not a minute sooner. He will do it when the joy of success will be greater than the fear of doing it wrong.
I selected a small collection of books that are suitable for first reading alone. Some are in english, some are translated in Romanian, but the originals is the same in terms of illustrations and text.
So take time and a comfortable chair, maybe even a cup of tea and enjoy the first readings of your children! It’s an experience of a lifetime.