Sunday, January 2, 2011

Carrie spent the night. She is teaching herself to read so the laptop becomes her instructor. She asks nicely if she may use it as soon as I finish what I'm doing. I smile and nod, close out the site and hand it to her.

She searches the desktop for her icon that takes her to her web site. Carrie is the only other human that is allowed to use this computer. The office computer is up for grabs on whoever gets to it first but this laptop is my domain. I know where Carrie goes when she is on it and I'm leery of where the other grands go so it's on lock down to them.

From the kitchen where I've decided since I have been chased away from my laptop, I'll do some dishes,  I hear her sounding out words on the website she visits. She is teaching herself phonics. Carrie missed kindergarten by 8 days and she so wants to read. She has known her alphabet and numbers for years now but putting them into words is her next step. Soon she moves to her blackboard in the kitchen and announces "ha...ruuummph...Ms. Nana. Take your seat. Class is starting."
I don't know how strict this teacher is so I quickly dry off my hands and hurry to my seat in front of the blackboard.
Poppy has bestowed upon this small teacher a "pointer" that telescopes and she has it pulled out full length. She sounds out " owl..owl..owl...and soon she has spelled "cow". She advances down the blackboard with her chalk and prints  out "how" "now" and "wow".  I copy them to the paper she has handed out earlier. She steps back and with the telescoped pointer she taps on each word she has written on the blackboard  and the good student I am, I sing out the name. She smiles and tells me I'm doing good. A little praise goes a long way. She learns quickly. 
I've questioned teachers about teaching her to read. Will she have bad habits to unbreak when she does get to start school. It's at times like these, I am wishing I had that knowledge of the steps that lead one from the alphabet to full words to sentences. 

My daughter tells me I have the "teacher gene" if there is such a thing. I can instruct someone on step by step learning to do something and I start very basic. I tutored a lot when I was in college and never assumed those I taught could skip steps to a certain level. We started at ground floor and moved up. This reading stuff is still a mystery to me. I need to take some classes on the how of it all.
Something I have always thought about doing was working with the illiterate. Volunteering to spend time teaching someone to read and knowing some day they could pick up a book and loose themselves in it. I fear I don't have that skill. I need a class in elementary education. 

Today I'm going to sign her up for soccer. There is a sign just down the road from my house advertising registration. I'll visit another neighbor that is a retired elementary teacher and question her about Carrie's next step or leap into words and sentences.

Tomorrow we visit the library and sign up for some library cards. Computers are great but I want her to be around real books too. We will be busy this coming week.
I'll be  kkk.


  1. That is amazing that she is teaching herself to read, you all must be proud that she has that kind of desire to learn. My sisters both were that way and Dad taught them to read at a very young age, Me that was another story I was lucky to learn in the first grade but I had a great teacher as I imagine that you are.

  2. She has books here that I read to her. She gets frustrated because she can't read them herself.
    We have tagged everything in the room with signs. The wall has a sign on it that reads "wall"....and so on with everything in the rooms. She sees the letters that idicate the object and associates.
    I"ve always read a lot. Books are a "trip beneath cardboard" for me. Just as the internet has entertained me for years with lots of stuff to read!


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