I feel I just have to share this. As some of you may already know, Imogen pretty much self taught herself to read about 10 months ago. She only looks for clarification of a word sometimes, but has usually worked it out herself anyway. It was just after Christmas last year after playing with a little girl aged 6 in the library who sat and read a book to her. Imogen then wanted to read one to the other girl so announced she is going to learn to read and asked me to find a book that would help her. We picked up a couple of early reading books that day, looked at how to form the words and away she went ... and never looked back.
Her reading abilities are now really good, she is able to read books well above what most people would expect of a just 5 year old. She puts feeling and inflection into the reading too, and her comprehension is brilliant. She's never been pushed or coerced into reading, she never will be by us or school, she can be proud of herself for achieving this herself; and I'm damned proud of her achievement too.
So moving on, she started year R at school recently, and there was a parents group meeting about what they will do in the year, and about reading and key words for the year. They are a very forward thinking school - no pressure on reading for those who cannot, but they will have one-to-one reading time with the teacher where she will read to them. I sat through this meeting thinking "Yes, but what about competent readers?" but felt that was a question for me to ask the teacher on my own rather than in the group, as most of the children aren't reading yet. So I parked the thoughts, and thought I'd wait until they started to bring home books for reading with the parents.
That day came this week, on Tuesday there was a book in her back to take home. Now this is when I had an interesting conversation with her teacher who came over to me as we picked the children up after school. Her first words were "Can I just talk to you about Imogen's reading? She's phenomenal isn't she?". Well of course I agreed, because her reading is for a 5 year old. We had in a previous meeting mentioned that Imogen can read herself so they knew that, and she was introduced to this on her very first day when her laptop wasn't working and Imogen told her it's because it says there "No Signal", and also read other things around the school. (Note to teacher: careful what you leave lying around that little girls might read!).
She went on to say how they sat together today to read a book and Imogen said I can read that, and did. The teacher thought this was "fantastic". She commented on her knowledge of words and use of letter sounds was "amazing", and then went onto say that Imogen probably won't have one of the key words pouches that the children also take home to familiarise themselves with words (if they want to) as Imogen knew all the Year R ones, and most likely the Year 1 & 2 too! A challenge for them to see what they can do there, especially as Imogen can quite confidently work out most words even big ones, and is better at pronouncing dinosaur names than me.
So there was a book for her, a higher level one which is well within her capabilities but they are starting there to get to know her abilities, and if she becomes bored of these they will get books from higher years for her. The other thing that she mentioned was that if all they can offer is reading practice, then they will look at introducing fun to it and find fun ways to help her learn things like expression in stories and punctuation.
So very very proud that my little girls efforts to teach herself something all those months ago, still inspires her to want to read everything (even the subtitles go on the TV when she watches it, so she can read along); and so very pleased the school have recognised this so early without me going to them first and have a positive approach to it rather than leaving her to just get on and read by herself (a concern I might have had). To have your daughter described as "phenomenal", "fantastic" and "amazing" warms the heart immensely.
Just so very very proud of Imogen anyway, her love for books knows no bounds, she loves to read with us, loves to still be read to also, and long may that love of both books and learning continue. Many, many more reasons to feel proud of her, and very lucky to have such a wonderful loving child to share life with (she has her moments - who doesn't?).