Saturday, April 12, 2014

I Can't Help But Add More...

This morning, even before breakfast was going, Matthew was begging me to read with him - as in, he wanted to read to me.  I managed to get us through breakfast first, but immediately thereafter he asked if both Geoff and I could sit and listen to him continue to read the Magic Treehouse book that he started yesterday.  Turns out, all five of us sat in the library listening to him read...chapter after chapter after chapter.  Over an hour later, he finished the entire thing - over 60 pages of reading just today.

His first completed chapter book:  Magic Treehouse's Gorillas in the Morning.  Not a very hard read re: vocabulary, as I mentioned yesterday, but he became very proficient in reading bits of conversation.  It was the perfect choice for him.

He was so thrilled.  Dancing and running around and singing (to the tune of the old Superman song) "Thank you Lord, for giving me books."

Who is this child??!!  At one point during the morning reading marathon, Seth and Lizzie were getting restless and a bit bored, and they started to make noises and run around and fidget.  Normally, Matthew would find that very distracting and annoying, but this morning he didn't even notice.  Later, Seth asked if there would be jelly beans in the offering today and I answered "no" because it simply wasn't needed as a motivator to get Matthew to continue reading.  We had telephone interruptions, and various other noises enter in to the reading time and nothing deterred him.  I said to Geoff later that I thought a stick of dynamite could have gone off in the room and he would have continued to read and be bewildered later about anything that might be amiss.  He was utterly focused and intent and motivated.

Anyway, after it was done, he asked if we could have a book-finishing celebratory snack with junky food and so we did just that.  We put on the coffee pot, pulled out some cookies and chocolate truffles, and they feasted on the decadence of life alternating moments.

It's a whole new world in this household.  A whole new world.


  1. That's awesome! It's amazing when their reading takes off like that, eh?
    I've been following your blog for a while through a friend's and finally thought I should stop "blog stalking" and say hi!

  2. These are wonderful stories Ruth! I'm so excited for Matthew. I saw this happen many times when I taught grades 3 and 4, but it always seemed miraculous. Once I walked past the desk of a girl who had been reading mostly Robert Munsch books for the whole year. She was reading one of the Narnia books. "How is it?" I asked her. "Great!" she responded. I asked her to read me a bit. She did it, almost completely fluently. "When did that happen?" I asked. She shrugged and laughed. Beautiful moments. I think the important thing to remember is that learning always requires the right conditions. You have provided this for Matthew (reading to him, talking a lot, creating a loving environment, books around, you are a reader, patience and encouragement, not making him do it before he is ready, etc, and so much more, I'm sure). It seems really that so much of teaching, like gardening actually, is about creating and providing the right conditions for children to flourish in their learning. It's hard to trust sometimes that they really are learning and developing because it isn't always evident on the outside, then suddenly, like in a garden, the flower you've been waiting and hoping for opens up! YEAH! Once children develop a certain level of fluency in their reading, like Matthew suddenly has, then they are much more eager to read, and the more they read the more they practice, so the more fluent they get. It's amazing!