Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Learner

We've been reading to Eliza since she was a tiny newborn.  Obviously, right?  So maybe it shouldn't have come as a surprise when she started asking what words meant or "how does that word sound mama?" when we'd read books or when she'd be looking at books quietly in her room.  Recently, we've started to notice her expressing frustration over the fact that she "can't read the words"; she is no longer content to just look at pictures.  At 3, we have on our hands a girl who desperately wants to learn to read.

What do I do with this child?!  I wondered.  How do I help her??

We talk about the alphabet constantly.  Of course she knows and sings the ABC song, loves identifying letters in words, and is now able to tell the sounds of nearly all 26 letters.  We answer her questions as she asks them, and help her learn as she wants to -- never actually instructing her in any real way, always remembering that kids at her age are absolutely ready to learn, but not so ready to be taught.

I asked about this in our ECFE class on Monday about this.  I wondered if anyone had any tips, suggestions, resources, books? I don't know - SOMETHING - to help me help her.  Because surely, I thought, surely I am not doing enough to help her.  She is voraciously eating up anything I tell her before I can think of what to even say next - could someone please recommend something I could do/buy/watch to help this child?  

Now -- I think this is an apt commentary on the state of what mothering in this culture and day and age does to a mama -- the mental mind games it creates -- because when the parent educator's response to me was simply: "Just keep doing what you're doing, Ella. Answer her questions. Read to her. What you are doing is enough", it was as if someone took my by the shoulders and shook me into an awareness of 'of course that's enough, what have I been thinking?'.  I was doubting my abilities to guide her, afraid I would actually somehow stifle this blossoming curiosity for words and reading and writing.  For learning.  Me.  Stepping back, I am ashamed.  Why did I think that (my master's degree and almost-PhD have got to be good for something, right?  Haha just kidding)? 

Of course I'm enough.  DUH, ELLA.

At the end of class, the ECFE parent educator told me something I think I will remember forever - or, at least I will remember the feelings -- the goosebumps, the immense pride, the feeling of responsibility -- it gave me when she said it.  

"Congratulations, you have yourself a learner."

I guess I do!

1 comment:

Jessie said...

I love this! You DO have such a special little girl; keep doing what you're doing!

Eliza's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 5 ozs
Going home: 7 lbs 10 ozs
5 days: 7 lbs 13 ozs
2 months: 12 lbs 6 ozs
4 months: 17 lbs
5 months: 18 lbs 12 ozs
6 months: 20 lbs 13 ozs
9 months: 24 lbs 3 ozs
12 months: 26 lbs 13 ozs
15 months: 28 lbs
18 months: 29 lbs 3 ozs
2 years: 32 lbs
3 years: 34 lbs

Alice's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 11 oz
2 Months: 13 lbs 10 oz
4 Months: 17 lbs 15 oz
6 Months: 20 lbs 4 oz