Reading Between The Lines
Here Molly’s resident blogger ‘Desperate Dad’, tells us about the magic currently spellbinding him as his youngest son grows into a more confident reader with each passing day…
I can no longer tentatively spell out forbidden words to my wife in front of the kids.
If either of my boys are now in earshot I dare not say 'what about going to the P-A-R-K on the way home?’ without causing a maelstrom of excitement not seen this side of Beatlemania.
And the F word is completely out of bounds - the mere mention of possible football can cause the most catastrophic of meltdowns.
But amongst all this madness and mayhem, and cease in phonetic communication with my wife - is the stark realisation of something quite beautiful and truly amazing.
A path of discovery and liberation, to untold riches and adventures - unlocked by my youngest son's new ability to open up a book and read it for himself.
I remember his older brother’s journey like it was yesterday - it all starts so hesitantly, barely noticeable.
The first schoolbooks brought home were pictures only, with the reader encouraged to describe the happenings on each page.
And every night the book bag would contain a new one, the accompanying reading log to be signed off by appropriate guardian - all feedback greatly received.
In those early days it was peppered with phrases like 'good attempt' and 'slightly misspelt', along with the odd 'please can we try this one again at the weekend Mrs Smith?’
Laminated words lists and simple family-themed short stories followed - Chip and Kipper are the 21st century Peter and Jane.
Slowly and surely progress was made. A book a night, and a spelling corrected and remembered.
Awareness of punctuation and grammar was next - log now proudly boasting, 'fluent and steady', 'no issues' and 'well done you'.
From picture only pages to Oxford Reading Tree Stage 7 - in less than 12 months. A staggering feat by anyone's reckoning.
Now road signs and shop fronts are all fair game, high street billboards and pub names are rattled off in car journeys on a daily basis.
I'm sure it won't be long before my youngest is on that treasure island with the Famous Five, or screwing his nose up at Snozzcumbers with the BFG - and I can't wait to join him there again.
For now, as a beaming dad sat listening to him recount the latest Chip and Kipper misadventure he has no idea how immensely proud I am of him.
But perhaps one day he'll stumble on these simple ramblings himself, read between the lines and appreciate the magic that poured out of those wonderful primary school pages.