Everyone remembers his or her first time, right? That magical moment when the squiggles on the page crystalize into words, and a new world, a world of reading, unfolds.
Mine occurred in the second half of first grade. In those long ago days, children weren't pressured into reading while still in diapers. We listened to picture books in kindergarten, but we didn't have readers of our own. There wasn't time. Kindergarten lasted half a day. Was this good or bad? I don't know. But my daughter, who went to preschool and full-day kindergarden where reading was very definitely taught, learned to read at exactly the same age as I did: six-and-a-half.
Still, even in those more forgiving days, I was among the last in my class to learn to read. What was wrong? Our house was full of enticing books; my mother, a bookworm, read aloud to me and my sisters every night; the children's room at the library was as familiar to me as the back of my hand. Whatever the reason, the squiggles on the page stayed squiggles.
Then, on an otherwise ordinary day, the amazing happened. I was looking at the page and reading aloud--as I often did; I was able to memorize the words from listening to my mother and parrot them back to her--when something shifted and the squiggles changed into words that held meaning. (How I wish I could remember the book, but I can't.) "You're reading!" my mother exclaimed. I was? At first, it didn't seem possible, but as I continued to stumble over the words, my confidence grew. And after that day, I joined the ranks of my classmates. I was a reader.
What about you? Do you remember your first time?