Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Athan Can Read!

(Athan is the third leprechaun from the right)

All last fall, six-year-old Athan told Mama that he wanted to learn to read, so in late November, Jennie Lou asked me if I'd be willing to implement a DISTAR reading program with him. It was a program she had used successfully with Anna Mae. I leaped at the chance, for I'd never been in on the initial stages of reading instruction having always worked with adults who had failed to grasp some reading skills.

I set up a schedule, and we got started the first week of December. My lesson plan was overly ambitious and was quickly impinged upon by the holidays, my vacation, illness, and other time constraints, but we nevertheless managed one or two lessons a week through December, January, and February.

Athan was always eager and cooperative when I showed up for a reading lesson. He would immediately abandon whatever he was doing--riding bikes, having a morning snack, or drawing at the table with the other kids--to join me in the schoolroom. We quickly established a routine. At the conclusion of each lesson, he would put a sticker on the schedule to indicate which numbered lesson we had completed, and then he would take a minute to look ahead in the book to see what was coming up. His anticipation was fun to watch.

Lately, he had also taken to looking backward from whence we'd come, clearly noting how much more complicated current lessons were from those in the past. During the month of March, I noted a subtle change in his skills. He was sounding out words at a subvocal level and then reading them aloud in full. I sensed a major breakthrough coming.

Yesterday, when I arrived, Athan met me at the door with a book in hand and said, "Dearma, I read half of this book with Gianna." Thinking it was a story book that he had most likely memorized, I joined him on the couch to hear him read. Boy was I delighted. The book was a primer, and he was indeed reading it. He was sounding out words including sounds we had not yet covered in the DISTAR program. As he turned page after page and read aloud, Gianna, Anna Mae, and Mama stood close by marveling at his ability.

March 16, 2009 will go down in history as the day that Athan started reading on his own.


Cindy said...

Gives me chills!! I think that is such a wonderful thing to be part of...teaching children to read...wow! You have done an amazing job, Patricia, and I know you had an amazing kid to work with. Athan is one of a kind and a treasure to know. I LOVE the picture...so, so, so cute!

Jennie Lou said...

I stand proud of both my son AND my mom!

tuckova said...

That's so great! I don't remember when K learned to read, but I know it's such an important skill, and so rewarding. What a treat to be around as an adult and watch a child acquire, watch the doors in their minds open. Oooh, sweet!