The other night I was reading the girls a book at bedtime, and I picked up on something I think may be really important to our girls learning to read. Now, we seem to always be on the lookout for “teachable moments” around here. Sometimes that means stopping to ask questions about the book we’re reading or pointing out some aspect of the book that ties in with something else we’ve been working on. We’re lucky that they usually lead us into this , so it’s not as if we’re forcing them into it. In fact, we never push anything on them if they don’t seem interested because we want them to enjoy the learning as much as we enjoy the teaching.
But this time something weird was going on. Chick Pea wasn’t stopping me on every page to ask questions about the story, and Bug wasn’t grabbing at the book or pointing at the pages while yelling out made-up words. They were both sitting quietly, listening to the story. They were engrossed. So I went with it.
I realized later that I wasn’t actually missing out on a teachable moment. I was taking advantage of one.
The lesson I was teaching them is that reading is an enjoyable and fun thing to do! We don’t always have to have a measurable objective every time we pick up a book. Sometimes (most of time?) the best part of reading is getting so into the story that you lose yourself in it. If we can one day establish a love of reading independently in our kids, just imagine the gains they’ll be able to make in fluency and vocabulary on their own, not to mention all the other things they’ll be able to learn about.
We have to keep our long-term goal in mine: give them the tools that allow them to read to learn.
Loving to read is a pretty powerful tool.