Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Easy as ABC

Let me first just say that I do not intend for this blog to be a place where I constantly brag about my child and chronicle every little accomplishment or activity in his daily life. This is not my online version of a Christmas card newsletter!

However, J has made some astonishing connections recently and as his mama and a Ready-to-Read-promoting librarian, I must stop and take note. Although I am not a fan of all of the Leap Frog toys and their attempts to digitize and animate every single reading- or literacy-based activity, I have purchased a few of their toys and J's been happy with them. One is the fridge alphabet. There is a magnet for each letter of the alphabet, and when you put a letter into the box, Leap Frog sings a song about that letter, explaining what letter it is and what sound(s) it makes. J has fun with this toy intermittently and I feel good just having the letters up on the fridge, assuming he is absorbing knowledge/recognition of them peripherally as he goes about eating his breakfast.

While coloring and doodling with J (a favorite pasttime of his), Daddy and I have gotten into the habit of drawing letters that stand for certain people's names. We draw a D for Daddy, an M for Mama, N for Nina, P for Papa, T for Tommy and L for Lucia. He is genuinely interested and so we continue to do it occasionally. I am not a hardcore drill sergeant-mama who wants her child to read at age 3 and go to college at age 14. But, I figure there is no harm in introducing J to print and words around us, as long as I am not placing any pressure on him to recall the information.

But, lo and behold, he has made the connections between these letters and the names we've told him they represent! We realize that now he is voluntarily on the lookout for alphabet letters, whether he is looking at a book, a toy, or the cereal box in the morning at breakfast. If he notices a letter we've talked about, he identifies it excitedly and repeatedly. "D! D, Daddy!", he'll exclaim.

I feel so proud of him. I share my enthusiasm with him, but remain committed to my desire that he will be our pacemaker, our line-leader, as we navigate through the experiences and "teachable moments" of his early childhood.

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