I am a word lover from way back.
Not the crossword puzzle kind, but rather the words rolling around in my thinking kind.
To this day, tossing words together on the page is one of my simplest pleasures.
This love of language began for me in first grade at Ricardo Elementary in Ricardo, Texas, with my Toni home perm and my Mary Jane shoes.
It was in first grade that I learned to read , and I tried with all my might to master handwriting.
We didn’t learn to read phonetically.
We just learned to read.
And even though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was there that I learned that reading is connected to writing
and if you are a strong reader, you have a better chance of being a strong writer.
I didn’t learn vocabulary from word lists.
I ‘figured out’ what words meant in the novels I read in the back seat of my mother’s car, as she drove 45
miles from the ranch to the nearest HEB.
I ‘figured ‘more words out in the same back seat on car trips to visit relatives.
And later , as a high school English teacher, I tapped dance as fast as I could to reach my students and to
encourage them to think for themselves and to write that way as well.
In desperation I coined a statement that I said to my AP students often:
”An educated person can manipulate his or her own language.”
And I still didn’t always get through.
So young parents, here is a bit of advice.
Your children need to read- daily- and not in a punitive way or just for accelerated reader certificates.
And if there are gaps in your child’s reading fluency, you fill in those gaps.
You teach them to read- the old fashioned way.
I may have gone a little overboard…
I tend to do that.