Why am I so ecstatic about this? Because she did most of her learning to read on her own. Yes, as I'm sure many veteran home educators know, learning to read just happens. The proof is in the pudding here folks. When a young person puts their mind to something, when they really want to learn it, it happens. Naturally. Charlotte did not want to read last Christmas. Why? Because easy readers were just too, well, boring. Silly. Stupid. Not interesting. She did not want to practice really, at all. She kept saying to me, "Mom, why can't I just be born reading?" We explained over and over that you can't get better unless you practice. We tried the "30 minutes a day" thing. We tried flash cards with the easy readers. We tried the leveled readers. It was a battle of wits. One day, she saw Jamie on Facebook. This interested her because she is a very social girl and is dying to do anything remotely grown-up. Jamie told her she has to be able to read and write at a certain level. "What level dad?" "Well, you have to be able to read Harry Potter. When you can do that, you can have a Facebook page." Game on.
At this point, no cajoling necessary. Charlotte started to read stories to Finn and Piper in bed at night. I didn't care. Flashlights on, till I don't know what time. She was reading. And they were loving it. And she was excited about it. And PROUD. She also started to read her favorite thing: her American Girl Doll catalog. Yes folks. A catalog. She read it cover to cover. Many times over. She also pulled pages out of the catalog and hung them on the wall next to her bed. She tells me that she used to read the pages on the wall at night with her flashlight. Now, her current favorite is an American Girl Doll Book, Good Luck Ivy. As a matter of fact, she is up with me right now. It is 10:00pm and she is reading to herself and giggling. She keeps reading me the passages she finds funny. "Mom, you have to hear this part, listen..."
Here she is. She wants to tell you all her thoughts about reading.
"I'm so glad I can read now. Cause if you read a book that's really good you can flip the page and find something really cool or exciting. It can be about wizards, dragons, magical fairies, fairy land, and mermaids. I'm reading a book about this chinese girl and she goes to chinese school and her name is Ivy Ling. And it's about how she goes to school and it's really boring and they don't give you a choice. Think outside of the box. In school if I wanna learn about stars and planets surrounding ours, they wouldn't let you do that would they? They'd say you're too young. Anyone can understand anything if they just put their mind to it. And I'm so glad I can read now. I think I'm gonna finish this book. I just can't put it down! Did you ever find a book that you just can't put down because you love it so much?"
How did you learn to read?
"I was seven. It was last Christmas. I thought, 'I don't have to read baby books.' I learned a lot by my partents and they encouraged me really well and everyone kept asking me to read. And sometimes I didn't want to read and sometimes I didn't even feel like I was old enough to read. But then I got past that feeling and I started thinking outside the box. I can read whenenver I feel like it whenever I want and whatever I want 'cause I can write and read and really, that's all you really need. My name is Charlotte and I'm a homeschooler."