I had mixed feelings about the twinlings starting to formally learn at such an early age. To me the pace seems pretty ambitious, especially for reading. In many countries the twinlings wouldn’t have started school yet and studies find seven is a good age to start education. That makes sense to me. But despite this research and my anxieties about pushing them too far to early, the twinlings have taken to reading, numbers and writing with gusto. And so we’re doing our bit at home to help them along.
As big readers ourselves, spending time with books is no hardship. I have this dream of a typical Sunday, where we eat a healthy family dinner, in my daydream Pickle shuns alphabetti shapes and turkey dinosaurs to enjoy a vegetable or two, with no tantrums. Then we go for walk in the countryside, without Ladybird asking where the cafe is and Pickle asking to be carried. And this utopian scene culminates with us returning home and sitting down in a comfortable and companionable silence and reading our books. I can but dream. But as Captain Sensible wisely told us, if you don’t have a dream, how’re you going to have a dream come true?!
Initially they both resisted the idea of having to read their daily school books to me, because it had always been me or QPR* doing the reading. I started off by compromising with them – I’d read it first and then they’d read to me. They gradually got used to this idea and now they’re happily in the routine of reading to us before a bedtime story. There’s also a bit of competition going on between them. Ladybird every now and again pulls ahead and is moved onto the next level and when Pickle catches her up he comes home bursting with pride. Last night she sat next to us while Pickle read and couldn’t help whispering (loudly) the words that Pickle was having to sound out.
One of the other big transitions has been the discussions we’re now encouraged to have about the stories. It turns out there’s more to learning to read than just the words, things that I take for granted, like which bit is the title, the beginning and the end. But I’m finding it’s too many prompts; What do you think this story is about? Who’s the main character? How would you feel if this happened to you? What’s going to happen next?
It all feels pretty unnatural at times and the twinlings end up ordering me to ‘just read it, read it.’ It’s something I’d like to get better at. There are lots of reading aids and schemes out there all with the aim of helping us to make learning to read fun for our children, so I’m going to be looking at some of them and giving some feed back on how they’ve helped us in future posts.
*DH has undergone a name change to QPR as I was being asked who DH was – his new name shouldn’t leave anyone who knows him guessing!