Friday, April 07, 2006

That's Mat

A shining day in modern literacy, indeed: On Tuesday, Finn read his very first book--"Mat"--from cover to cover.

I thought I felt pride when he wrote his name for the first time, but the experience of watching him focus on the individual lines of text and listening to him wrap his mouth around the various consonants and vowels to string them into a progressive storyboard for his audience (he read it to Shea and me as I spoonfed her green beans and sweet corn puree for lunch), blew my previous reaction out of the water. This one swelled up into a lion's pride worth of pride.
I'm excited that Finney's eager to learn to read and is drawn to books on his own, without John and I having to "sell" their benefits to him. I'm also relieved that he's getting a head start on this critical piece of academic development so he'll find school to be more enjoyable overall. But, mostly, I'm delighted to watch him discover that, by getting to know 26 little letters and the sounds that they produce, he holds the key to opening a whole new world of communication around him--on street signs, on maps, on mail, and even on product packaging. ("That spells 'NEMO' on the cereal box, Mom!" he screamed yesterday, with an urgency and decibel equivalent to what would be used to inform me that a pack of bears were tapdancing down the street wearing tutus.)
The little guy's joined a new club and is tickled to flash his glossy membership card whenever any series of letters come together to form a word he can phonetically assemble. He's learning about confidence, too--and pride in himself.

All this in 12 little pages.
I guess it's true what they say: books are magic.

1 comment:

jakelliesmom said...

Congratulations to your little reader!

What I love about this 22 word tome is the description on the back - often longer than the story: "The characters are generally warm and smiling. They do have their problems, as when Mat sat on Sam and Sam looked a bit startled. Then Sam sat on Mat, and Mat looked grim but resigned."