Tag Archives: learning to read

1st half of the year. Gone.

So now that the reading bug has hit, what next? Well we have been VERY busy flash-carding our lives away. My friend Merese has been really helpful with study material as she is in the throes of learning to read with her boy, Cooper. I can’t tell you how fascinating I find the whole thing and how consumed I am with it. I’m sure the novelty will wear off as he becomes a more fluent reader and doesn’t need me to coach him as much, but for now, it feels good to have this little “project” going on in our house. And it affects us all, Hannah is very busy learning her words too… I suspect she will read sooner than Liam did, second children mostly learn everything quicker because of their older sibling, don’t they? Also, because my two are so close in age, their milestones are really neck-and-neck, so it’s great that they are learning together.


So I discovered that those bridging words I spoke about in my last post are actually called SIGHT words… thanks to all the moms who quickly corrected me 🙂 The internet is a wonderful thing, I googled it and discovered hundreds and hundreds of free printables of hundreds and hundreds of SIGHT words. Turns out reading is a big business, who would have thought! Ha. So initially I just printed, laminated and cut out cards. Then a cousin of mine left a comment on my Facebook page about grouping ten or so cards and attaching them to an O-ring… I adapted her suggestion and came up with this:

flash 2

I initially only put 10 cards on a ring, but this child of mine whizzed through them so quickly, that I just kept adding and adding until we got to about 30 or so cards (I think, I haven’t counted). He learned those in a day, so I started a second batch with more difficult words and we’re working our way through this ring, while still going over the first ring… repetition is good, right? But this O-ring idea is great because he carries them all over, we use them in the car, he takes them outside and teaches Rocky, our Rottie, his words. NOT a good idea, Rocky almost had them in his mouth yesterday. ALMOST. Sjoe. So I thought it was a handy tip to share. I also use the regular flash cards to stir things up a bit, because I felt like he was preempting the words on the ring because he had remembered what was coming next, rather than actually looking at the word (obviously they are in a certain order on the ring). This child has a serious memory on him. I’ve downloaded a few free readers, but would like to get my hands on some PHYSICAL copies… I have this weird romantic idea that READING a book, feeling the pages under your fingers, smelling the dust as you turn the page… it’s all part of the experience, isn’t it? I thought they were a bit pricey online, so I’ll shop around this weekend, preferably for second hand books because I feel we are going to be buying lots more books in the next few months. I’m trying really hard not to overdo it (uh oh, maybe too late for that) because I’d hate for him to become bored with this whole thing because I am tiger mom-ing him into reading. I want to keep it fun and light hearted and keep him keen. That’s my plan anyway.

Aside from reading, there is lots going on which I need to blog about. Our weekend in Port Shepstone where Hannah had the best birthday ever. Yes, we are still celebrating her birthday. I’m sure some of you saw the photos on IG. I’m also cutting and colouring my hair on Monday. Even though I was adamant that I was never ever ever cutting my hair short AGAIN after THIS:


 I liked the style, but the maintenance. Yoh. Hard work. But having long hair becomes a bit boring when all you do with it is have it down and then lob it into a pony tail. What’s the point of all this hair if you aren’t going to play with it and style it and make it look pretty? So I’m thinking a shorter cut will shake things up a bit. Worst case scenario, it will grow back, right? Mozambique next month: CANNOT.WAIT. Looking SO forward to that little holiday. Funny story about when we went to apply for the kids passports: according to the South African government, Liam doesn’t belong to me. As in, on the country’s register or whatever it is called, I am listed as having one child only, and that child is Hannah. Liam has a birth certificate so yes he was born, but no one knows who his actual mother is. Scary hey? We would never have discovered this had we not applied for a passport. Luckily they picked him up on Husband’s name, and we had a certified marriage certificate so they were happy to issue his passport based on this. Now I need to apply for an unabridged certificate in order to have him linked to me. CRAZY stuff.

Last week I got tonsillitis for the first time in my LIFE. OH.MY.WORD. Like there’s having a sore throat. And THEN THERE’S TONSILITIS!!!! Felt really bad about all the times I’ve told my kids to suck it up when they complain about having a sore throat. Also the body pain, oh I felt like a sick dog. And felt more sorry for myself because there was no one to look after me AND the kids were also sick 😦 I also took Liam BACK to the doc for his post nasal drip, she started saying words like asthma and I was like NO WAY we are not accepting that, thank you very much, give him an antibiotic and he will be FINE. Hannah had inflamed errr’thing… throat, ears, nasal passages… so all three of us were popping pills last week. First time in my working career that I got a sick note! That was quite a thrill!

So lots going on. Good stuff. Keeping us busy and out of trouble. Can’t believe it’s June already. Well when I look at my medical aid statement I can believe it’s June. But yeh, time ain’t standing still. We had a relatively good 1st half of the year. We had our ups and downs, but we made it! What can you say for your 1st half of the year? Hope it was good? Xx

My kid can read. Mind blown.

I don’t know when I learned to read exactly. I can’t remember NOT being able to read, and then being able to read. I’m sure I was very excited about it at the time because we grew up with books (both parents were teachers, hello) and I loved reading from a very young age. But I don’t remember the excitement of going from illiterate to literate. Enter my son. This kid is so amazing, he continues to blow my mind with how quickly he learns and grasps new things. I’ve shown off enough about how I think Liam is a genius, go read his baby posts and it’s all about our Baby Einstein. No shame or humility at all in these parts. So allow me to relish in my parenting achievement of having an almost-reader at age 5YEARS3MONTHS. (Let’s ignore the fact that this probably has nothing to do with my parenting, or that Chinese babies are reading at age 3, but just give me my moment please).

Liam can read. Like he can string words together and read sentences. I simply cannot believe it. We’ve been learning words and spelling for a while now, he has been able to spell simple three letter words for some time. But this weekend my sister unlocked the key to reading sentences – it pays to have a first grade teacher in the family. She said he needs to learn and KNOW those words that appear often without having to spell or think about them: it, is, this, that, he, she, there, were, his, him, etc, etc. And then I realised that these were like the “bridging” words that allow one to create sentences. It’s all well and good knowing CAT, SIT, MAT but those little bridging words allow THE cat TO sit ON THE mat. You see what I mean, isn’t that awesome? On Friday afternoon, my sister wrote a few simple sentences on her iPad and went over these “bridging” words with Liam and not even long after, this was the result:


HOW BLOODY AMAZING IS THIS KID?? I cannot tell you how happy I am. That feeling that I cannot remember of learning to read myself… I feel it for my kid.  I am so excited for him. And Liam? HE IS OVER THE MOON. It is heartwarming to watch. It makes me giddy, I want him to read ALL THE BOOKS. NOW!!! My sis took me back to basics, so this morning I’ve made flash cards of all the words I think are bridging words, and we’ll learn those quickly. I don’t know how one teaches words other than simple 3 letter sounding words, but for now I really want to hone this simple skill  first, so that by the time he gets to Grade R, he is a fluent reader. Then I’ll leave the rest up to his teacher – I need to pay these exorbitant school fees for SOMETHING, right?

Anyway, I have a new party trick… I will be showing off my new reader to EVERYONE. I’m so proud! This child of mine.

Liam, you continue to astound me with how smart, witty, and sensitive you are. Your intellect has nothing to do with IQ but everything to do with how open and eager and excited you are to learn. I pray that this fire that burns within you continues to rage as you open yourself up to learning all the wonderful things that life has in store, if we but grab the opportunities in front of us. I can’t wait to lay with my eyes closed and just listen as YOU read to ME. Nothing would make me happier than you finding and losing yourself in a good book. You are the most amazing little boy I know, probably because you are MINE, but also because you are YOU. Congratulations on probably one of the most amazing things to happen to a human being! The power and the privilege to read.