Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thank you, Theodore!

Friday was Dr. Seuss's birthday (he would be 108!), a special day in schools. Our daughters wore their jammies for a schoolwide Pajama Day, and it was Family Friday and Read Across America, which meant parents were outside with students reading books and talking about books and celebrating literacy.

I left work early to read to the kindergartners, who swarmed me with the books they'd brought to school, including all manner of Dr. Seuss and some Dora the Explorer and Barbie (gulp) as well. I read Green Eggs and Ham, perhaps a little too animatedly, as I lost my audience for a bit amid the hilarity (note: it's a risky business, cracking up kindergartners).

Big Sis was an early reader, a motivated and voracious consumer of books. She figured the reading thing out on her own, and off she went on her independent literary adventures. Little Sis is a different creature. It became clear as we read to her early on that she wasn't interested in chiming in or trying reading for herself. Maybe performance anxiety played a part, maybe a keen awareness that her sister was way ahead of her in this arena.  Suggestions to sound out words were often met with silence or gentle urgings: "You just read it, please, Mommy?" Last summer she warily bust into some Bob books she'd received as a gift, but we vowed to sit back and let her find her way, and allow her to continue enjoying being the audience for bedtime books. As with potty training, we felt confident she wouldn't go too long without conquering this developmental milestone.

Now more than midway through kindergarten, she wasn't reading independently. Until Friday, that is. I'm not sure how the magic happened, but she came home from school, gathered all our Dr. Seuss books into a big stack, sat down beside me, and began to read one to herself. She read the whole darned thing, and with triumph. An hour later, my friend and neighbor and colleague--a former elementary school teacher--came over, and Little Sis promptly landed in her lap to regale her with Green Eggs and Ham. We were both a little teary over the magnitude of the moment.

There's something about you, Dr. Seuss, your joyful, rhyming words, your relentless commitment to early literacy, your creativity and humor...Your day gave my daughter her big day.

Because truly? Of all the adventures in life, embarking on the journey of words and books is the most exhilarating. I am so happy for her.

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Oh how I love reading this! The picture is a favorite, the experience sublime! The author is amazing, and the family is priceless. Can't wait to read with Camilla again. Love that Dr. Seuss!