Yes. It's true. We've been working on the reading skills of our four year old son. He's had the alphabet down pat since he was about two. But the leap from knowing what the letters are to knowing they form words has taken some time.
In the last few months he has grasped the concept of "sounding it out". This all started with linking the letter sounds to the letters, so we've had myriad hours spent with him saying,
"B makes the sound buh!" and "S makes the sound Sssssuh!" and so on and so forth. He does a really good job with sounds and such. So we've been moving him into sounding it out. This has led to many a good chuckle. For example, one recent conversation.
Daddy: What's the first letter?
D: And what sound does 'D' make?
D: Good! What letter is next?
D: And what sound does 'O' make?
D: Great! 'Awh' for this word, and sometimes it makes the sound 'Oh'.
D: Last letter?
B: G! That's Guh!
D: Good job! Now let's put them together!
Then Daddy points to the letters as the Boyo sounds them out.
Boyo: Duh...Awh...Guh. Duh, Awh,Guh. Duh awh guh.
Daddy: And that word says...?
But the other night as we were reading through Curious George Learns the Alphabet, we were running through the above conversation except with the word 'cab'. And at the end of the sounding out I said, as per the script,
And that word says...?
Fully expecting him to reply with MONKEY! or PAPER! but he very excitedly proclaimed
The Wife and I looked at him in amazement, then at each other, and soon we were all grinning and complimenting and very, very happy! He went on to sound out a few other words, each time I could see the little gears a turning in his head, and connections being made. And I thought to myself, my God. My son is learning to read!
Followed closely by the thought, my God... I have a son old enough to read!?! And a lump of paternal pride came to my throat. I respect and admire my folks all the more for making the upbringing of my siblings and I look so easy at times. I remember very little about learning to read. My older sister helped a great deal of course. And I could read when I left for kindergarten. The Boyo goes to school next fall. I have no doubt that he'll be reading well by then. He's a pretty amazing kid.