Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thoughts on Raising a(n Emergent) Literate

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

For the record, and in general, (and for until it's like maybe September,) apologies for the lack/brevity of posting. All I can say is that it's summer and we are OUTSIDE! And since I have only this lovely desktop computer, well, there's not any posting to be done there.

I've been meaning to write for a while about Pumpkin & her steps into reading. It's been so much fun to watch her as she's started figuring this whole thing out. While Mr. Kluges and I can totally take credit for reading to her every day, twice a day (pre-nap/quiet time and pre-bed), she loved & learned a lot from 4K last year. This 4 year-old kindergarten was a great thing for her - she had fun, it got her more socialization, she learned a bunch of songs, and she moved forward so far in terms of writing and reading.

I especially love watching this, since after teaching a multi-age kindergarten-first grade class for years, I'm recognizing so many beginning/emergent reader/writer skills she's showing. When she sounds out words to write them, she's getting the main sounds - usually beginning & ending ones, and often throwing in some sort of vowel as a place-holder in the middle. There are usually no spaces between her words; if she runs out of space, she'll just continue on the next line in the middle of the word, or else go vertical; she asks for help with diagraphs (th, sh, ch - where two letters make a completely different sound).

But it's making sense to her. She "gets" the whole "this squiggle on the paper equals a sound" and "these letters all strung together equal a word that you say." She expects text to make sense, to be understandable if it can be decoded, to have use.

Here's a picture of some words she wrote on a fabric bag she got to decorate for a school thing back in May...

Can you read it? Would it help to know that the event was "Celebrate 4K Day?"

Sure there are reversals, and it's all capital letters, and I'd say we need to practice those K's a little, but still, the sense of it is there. I don't remember if she copied "day" from a sign/calendar in the room or if she had help for that one, but the "celebrate" was all her own.

Reading is much the same. I've mentioned briefly before about some words she'd read, but she's doing more and more of that. I pointed out a sign on the way in to her hour-long "Tot Time" class last Thursday that said, "Today we will eat popcorn." I read her the first few words, then asked her what they were getting to eat. Brief pause, then "popcorn!"

She can do a lot of rereading with books we've read with her. Sure, she's got familiarity and the illustrations on her side, but it's easy to tell she's paying attention to the text. She'll self-correct sometimes if she starts saying a word that makes sense, but isn't actually the one on the page. Mr. Kluges read the classic "Hop on Pop" to her once and the next time they went to read it (day or so later), she read the whole thing back to him. Lots of rhyming words, which makes it easier, but that's exactly where she's at.

It's so fun and so exciting to watch her take this next step, to begin to accomplish this mental milestone, to join us, the community of readers and writers! Go, Pumpkin!

P.S. on Mon 6/29: Today she wrote "monster" as "MOSTR." Pretty close!

1 comment:

DiploWhat said...

This makes me wonder how the judge development when learning Chinese. I guess that's why they teach stricly by having to learn to write characters 20 times, over and over.