Read Me a Story

Joe’s been doing a pretty good job identifying sight words by sounding them out. He’ll say a few words in the Bob Books when we read through them together, but he has never actually read the whole book from start to finish on his own.

But last night, daddy asked him to read a story.

Joe was reluctant and a little shy at first, but as soon as Ray handed him the first Bob Book–Mat–he lost all shyness.

He read the WHOLE book, and it wasn’t entirely from memory. He sounded out each word before saying it.

“Mmm aa tuh. Mat!”

Ray helped a bit by sounding out the words too, but he only did that for one or two words.

Joe: Ssss aa tuh
Ray: Ssaatuh

Joe would look at the word, crinkle his brow and sound it out a few more times before proclaiming: “Sat!”

When Joe read, “the end”, we clapped and hugged and praised him. He looked so proud of himself and we were ecstatically proud of him.


I know I shouldn’t be so surprised. We have, after all, been working on these books for several weeks. Plus, he’s been sounding words out for a while now and has been able to recognize/read familiar words.

But…he’s never read a book to us. I always read books to him, pointing to words I think he might know.

I was so focused on teaching him to recognize letter sounds and sound words out that I neglected to ask him to read me a story on his own.

I wasn’t giving him a chance to exceed my expectations.

It was a humbling and a bittersweet moment.

Humbling, in that he–my 4-year-old–had reminded me not to hold too tightly to the reins…to give him a chance to shine.

Sweet, because all our hard work is becoming evident and giving both of us a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s clear that he is proud of himself and eager to learn and read more.

Bitter, in that soon, all too soon, Joe will want to read a book quietly and all by himself.


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