The sweet girl's progress in learning to read has been rolling merrily along. Once in a while I grasp how well she's doing; I suddenly realize she is not only getting more adept at sounding out words, but she's beginning to "sight read" certain words that have appeared over and over again in our lessons (having first learned them phonetically) and she's gaining confidence. She's also becoming more acclimated to all the things we take for granted about reading (because we've been doing it so long, our brains just process these things naturally without us having to stop and think) like reading left to right, pausing at spaces between words, and moving to the beginning of the next line down when she gets to the end of a line. I really appreciate the way the Distar method reinforces all those things visually.
Yesterday we walked to the post office in the late afternoon, so I could mail the last of our taxes (yes, they're all done...hallelujah!). I like to see the tax envelopes postmarked before my eyes at the counter, but I had some other things to mail too, so we stopped at the drop boxes on the way in. S. has always loved these, from the time she was too tiny to reach the slots and I had to pick her up and help her stretch so she could drop the envelopes clutched in her little chubby baby fingers. Now she doesn't even have to stand on tiptoe (when did THAT happen!) and drops the envelopes in oh so casually.
There's a sign in between the slots informing people not to mail certain envelopes or packages that weigh more than 16 oz., etc. Most of the sign is in fairly small lettering, but right in the middle, in fairly good sized bright red capital letters, is the word STOP! I was scrambling through my pockets for the last of my envelopes when suddenly my little girl pipes up with the question, "Mommy, why does that say STOP?"
It took me a few seconds to realize that she'd asked me WHY the sign said what it said, not WHAT did the sign say. In other words, she had read the word, all on her own, without any prompting or encouragement, and silently.
Wow. Maybe this seems small, but to me it really did feel like a red letter event. Never mind that the answer to her actual question was kind of boring (she didn't really care much about how much people's mail weighed) it still gave me the opportunity to practice some casual confidence building. After I answered her question, I said, "you know, you read the word stop. That was good reading!" She looked almost as surprised as I felt, and then came that lovely sweet girl smile.