Small Talk

She can read?

June 22nd, 2011

My three year old just read her first words. I was stunned and amazed. I shouldn't be, since we've all been working on it for months. But change comes slowly, and I wasn't holding my breath for the exact day that she would read something.

So many big events in life are wrapped in small, nonchalant moments. Olivia and I were sitting at the kitchen table having breakfast, and there was an empty plastic clamshell on the table waiting to be taken outside to the recycling bin. "What was in here, Mommy?" she asked.

I couldn't remember. "The blueberries Mommy ate this morning," I answered.

She looked at the box and said, "This says tomatoes."

I stopped mid-chew and looked at her. "What did you say?"

"This says 'tomatoes,'" she responded.

"How do you know that?" I asked, expecting her to say there was a picture of a red tomato on the label.

"Because it says t-t-t-t-tomato," Olivia sounded out. "It does not say b-b-b-blueberry." I ran over and hugged her.

It's probably a combination of preschool, parents, grandparents, and babysitter reading to her and helping her write letters, and repeated viewings of The Letter Factory DVD. If you're not familiar, the cartoon teaches that "every letter makes a sound" and then goes into each sound.

I have tried to replicate that moment, but she will not be forced. When we ask her what this or that word says, she just gets all goofy, so we gave up. It'll happen again when she's ready.

But back to that moment at the table. I expressed hearty praise and immediately called my husband and parents to share the news. The funny thing is, despite reading the label for herself, she still didn't make the connection on how to answer her own question.

"So," she persevered. "What was in this box?"

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5 Responses to “She can read?”

  1. Ken Conklin:

    Actually, Olivia is correct. Her skepticism should be rewarded. Just because the box's label says "tomato" does not necessarily mean that what's in the box is tomatoes. "You can't judge a book by its cover." For example, I have a plastic jar in my refrigerator with a label that says "Apple Juice" because once upon a time, when I first bought it, it had apple juice inside. But now it has strawberry guava juice, and a few days from now it might have passion/orange, or even windshield washer fluid. More generally, it's a good idea to be skeptical about labels. Someday a boy (or girl!) will come into Olivia's life whose T-shirt says "good guy" but who might turn out to be a very bad guy.

  2. Mr. B:

    Sounds like Olivia is definitely beginning to pick-up reading. Enjoy and cherish reading bedtime stories to her while you can. It was a sad day for me when one night, when my daughter was around 5, she told me, "I can read by myself daddy." I haven't read another book to her since that day. I really, really miss it.

  3. kuunakanaka:

    aloha Diane:

    I remember the first time my daughter read out loud. my wife and i were surprised. now she is an avid reader. unless she is too sleepy. all right Olivia.

  4. Rosette:

    yes teach her to read so when you are lazy to read she can read for you...

  5. Sven:

    Awesome story.

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