"Oh, magic hour when a child first knows it can read printed words!
"For quite a while, Francie had been spelling out letters, sounding them, and then putting the sounds together to mean a word. But one day, she looked at a page, and the word "mouse" had instantaneous meaning. She looked at the word, and the picture of a gray mouse scampered through her mind. She looked further, and when she saw "horse" she heard him pawing the ground and saw the sun glint on his glossy coat. The word "running" hit her suddenly and she breathed hard as if running herself. The barrier between the individual sound of each letter and the whole meaning of the word was removed and the printed word meant a thing at one quick glance. She read a few pages rapidly and almost became ill with excitement. She wanted to shout it out. She could read! She could read!" (excerpted from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith)
Cornflower is learning how to read, and it is just as Betty Smith describes it. Enchanting! But she is my last little girl to learn. When she gains fluency, I will have to volunteer as a reading tutor at a school or something. I do enjoy it. The light in a child's eyes when she realizes she is making sense of the printed word is just joyous.
Today I taught her what a question mark is and how to read a question aloud, scaling up at the end. She really got into it, and had to stand in the "speechifying spot" (in front of the bookcases) and present her McGuffey primer lesson as a dramatic interpretation. What fun!