I have always been a reader. Before I could even read, I would pick up my baby board books and babble away like I was reading. One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was go out and purchase some of those same stories to read to my baby. I could not wait to have a child who would love reading and books as much as me.
Then I had Cady.
She is smart and funny and has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard (why yes, I am partial), but a reader she is not. When she was little, I would be able to settle her on my lap and read one story to her, if I was lucky. Normally, it was a half story. In one Sandra Boynton book she only liked the page that I sang to her. “Dinosaurs signing a dinosaur song.” She would make me do that over and over.
I thought maybe when she started school things would change. Learning to put the words together to form words would instantly make her fall in love with reading. I saw other mothers posting photos of their kids on Facebook with their little noses stuck in books tagged with “my little loves to read”. I couldn’t wait to be that mother.
Then she started school.
In kindergarten, sight words were a challenge. She would cry every night. I would get frustrated when she would say we instead of me. Couldn’t she see the difference in an m and a w? “Sound it out.” I would say. “What sound does an m make?” She knew all the letter sounds when you would quiz her. But putting those sounds to the letters she saw never worked.
In first grade came spelling tests. It was a horror show. “Just write the words five times and you will memorize them.” I instructed her. She would cry trying to read the little assigned books sent home from school. “The words are swimming around on the page.” She would tell me. “Are you really trying?” I would ask. Now, I cringe at the things I said and tried to make her do. I knew something was wrong. I talked to her teachers. “Wait.” They told me. I waited and saw things get worse and worse.
Finally in second grade, Cady was diagnosed with dyslexia and Irlen syndrome. Things started to make sense. I was able to learn how to help her with her homework. Sometimes it is still a challenge, but we are both learning to navigate these waters.
A year and a half after her diagnosis, I walk into her room at bedtime. I sit in my spot on her bed. We pull the covers up to our chests and recline against pillows. “Read me a story.” I tell her with a smile. “Okay honey. Now be quiet and listen.” She responds with a laugh. For the next twenty minutes she sits and reads to me a book of her choice. Some of the words are hard and she stumbles. She has to ask for my help. Sometimes she will say the wrong word, like throw for though. But she reads to me.
My baby is finally learning to read.
This month the happy mama movement is giving away a New Baby, First Child book gift basket from The Enchanted Bookery, which is a personalized gift service that tracks the books they send to children so that if you want to send another basket in the future – there are never any duplicates. Awesome! The basket will be filled with classic children’s books like The Velveteen Rabbit and Goodnight Moon. Use the form below to enter the giveaway.
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