Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reading....together

Today's gift is reading...together.

I love to read.  I love to read to my children.  I love when my children are learning to read and they read to me.  

When my daughter was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome learning to read was one of the dreams I thought would never come true.  She isn't able to communicate verbally, how is she possibly going to be able to read.

Well, like many challenges my daughter faces....daily...learning to read is one she is overcoming!  I never thought she would be able to read....period.  Let alone read out loud to me!  

Last year she started a reading program called Edmark.  Her teacher....her one to one...her best friend....her true believer....knows she can do anything she puts her mind to.  The material may need to be altered to accommodate how she learns, but she will be given the same chance as any other child.  And just like any other child who is learning a new skill....some things come quickly to her and others take time to learn.

My daughter has always loved books...ever since she was a baby.  She loves to flip through the pages and not only look at the pictures, but point out what she sees....and if she can say the word for the picture, she will say it to me!  For years, we have been reading age appropriate chapter books to her every night.  I want her to experience some of my favorite childhood authors, like Roald Dahl,  and for her to enjoy books her peers are reading too.  One of her favorite activities to do for quiet time is to flip through her "pre-teen" magazines...and she loves pointing out Justin Bieber and Zayn from One Direction!  If she ever met them in person, I know she would be starstruck for sure!

Both of my other children have a passion for reading as well.  They enjoy reading to their sister and I love the moments when they do read to her.  Watching my 5 year old son, read a story to my 11 year old daughter doesn't seem right.  Shouldn't it be the other way around?  It should, but it isn't.   The beauty in seeing my son act like a big brother to his big sister, is heartwarming to see.   This is a gift by itself.

This afternoon after my daughter and I did her homework, we put on some light classical music for background noise and I asked her if we could read together.  She liked the idea and hopped up on the sofa.  She is able to read many words in the "my first" level reading books, like the Biscuit series.  We sat down and started to read.  When we came to a word I knew she could say, I would stop...point to the word...and she would say it.  While I was reading to her I also was pointing to each word as we were reading so she could follow along with me.  Just because she can not say some of the words in the story, I know without a doubt, she knows what the words say.  She has been working on reading many sight words in school for the past two years, so I know she is understanding what she is reading...on her own!

Our "reading together" experience is not your typical learning to read experience like I have shared with my other two children.  However, I never thought I would be given this type of reading experience with my daughter with special needs.  The fact she isn't reading to me like a "typical" 11 year old girl doesn't bother me.  The fact she is reading is all I care about.  If it is one sight word at a time...I will take it.  I never thought this "typical" milestone would be reached and I am excited to see where her reading takes her!  In the meantime, we will enjoy reading....one book at a time!

Here are two quotes for today....

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect.  It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections- Author Unknown

The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you will go- Dr. Seuss


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