Monday, February 8, 2010

"Mama, everyone can...."

He'd gone to bed, and all had been quiet for about 15 minutes. Then out came the little feet padding along the hallway. His big eyes round and sad.

"Mama, everyone can read, and I can't."

I reassured Max that no, not everyone can read yet, and that he is doing a great job with his letters and sounds.

"But, Mama, even babies can read. I saw that on a show - the baby knew 'clap' and I didn't. And at my school kids can read. More girls than boys, but I can't do it."

Oh. First of all, I hate that darn commercial. I'm sure many of you have seen it. You know, the babies and the flash cards and the "reading". As a reading teacher I just want to scream. It's not "reading" - it's decoding. Not that it is bad, but I believe it just plays on all those insecurities we have as parents. We're never doing enough to help our children reach their full potential if they aren't reading by their 2nd birthday. If only I had spent hours working on flash cards teaching my child through skill and drill rather than cuddling my child in my lap as I read to him.

As if.

But now I am even angrier that something like that has caused my son to feel bad about himself. He has NOTHING to feel bad about. He is moving along at the right speed for him. That's part of what we love about his school so much - when he wants to work on reading, he can work on reading. If he would rather work on math, or practical life skills, he can do those too. He will learn all of it in time - in HIS time. Not when some stupid guy on a commercial tells him he should.

So what do I tell this concerned little boy in my lap? First of all, that if he feels he wants to learn to read, we can work on it. Second of all, his brain and body are growing in so many ways we want to enjoy all of those things, and not worry about one. And third of all? That commercial is silly. And people on TV aren't allowed to make us feel bad.

And lastly? Go back to bed.


Marilee said...

Meg, your answer, as usual, was perfect! You and your sister are the perfect example of growing and learning in your own time. I hate it that Max is worrying about this. For heavens sake, he's only 4!!!

Itty_Bitty_Wittes said...

My kids especially my 3 year old has been struggling with the same thing since those STUPID commercials have been showing. So then I showed him World World and explained to him that the letters on the bodies and houses spelled the words and that is how he could read he was so excited. So. Now he spells the thing out and tries to figure it out himself. Word World has AWESOME flashcards. That might make Max feel better. It has helped with my Lucas. :)

j.yue said...

oh man megan. i am so bummed max even has this on his radar!!! i totally know that commercial and now wonder if o has ever seen it. i think he has and wow that max articulated his feelings on the matter. when o seemed interested in reading, i read a few good books on the importance of just reading aloud and not getting ahead of myself. and o is taking it real slow. very different then what i am hearing from countless kids in his class too. kids multiplying at 4 and reading at 5th grade levels. yikes! one fam even realized they pushed too hard when their kiddo developed a tick...and since has slowed down.