Yesterday, in the van, on route to swimming lessons, I noticed that Matthew was kinda mumbling to himself. I couldn't see what he was doing, so I asked if everything was ok and he said that he was trying to read something. Given that he's been such a reluctant reader, I just said "oh, ok" and left it at that. I didn't to make a big deal of it or to distract him.
He asked if I could help him with a word and he spelled out loud the word condescending. I helped him and asked what he was reading. He said that he was trying to read the book that Grandma had given him the day before and which he'd forgotten to take inside the house.
Now, I happen to know that this book is well ahead of his reading ability...in fact, it is also well above grade 4 reading levels, which he's not at yet. I was worried that he was going to get very frustrated about it because it was going to be way too hard for him to read.
So I suggested that if there were other words he wanted me to help with, that was fine. He spent the entire fifteen minute drive to swimming on page one of that book, and asked me about eight words (like superiority and ingenuity), but I was amazed at his tenacity - that truly was a first. And he made it through all but the last couple of lines of the page and, when I asked him what his favourite sentence on the page was, he could answer me...and volunteered that he loved how that sentence sounded.
Now, for some parents, this might not be blog-worthy. But I have to tell you that as I sat there driving, listening to my 9-year-old attempting really hard to sound out words, and getting most of them, I had tears in my eyes. And when he, as we pulled into the parking lot, said that he wants "so badly" to learn how to read better, those tears threatened to spill over. I've been waiting and waiting to hear words like that...and even though his intention might not last for very long yet, the intention, the drive, is there right now. All I said was that he was well on his way towards being an awesome reader and that I knew 100% for sure that it was going to happen for him. I wanted to push a little at that moment, but chose not to - it's never worked before. So all I added was that I would help him whenever he wanted it. He said "I know Mom...thanks."
On route home later, Matthew suggested that maybe tomorrow (ie. today) we could sit in our library with that book and we could take turns reading sentences from that book. I said "sure." So after breakfast this morning, I'm going to suggest that we do just that...and if he's still interested and if we actually do this, I'm going to quietly make that our school for the day...forget the Math...this would be huge enough.
Crossing my fingers...