Sunday, November 27, 2011

Easy as A, B, C

Cael is really enjoying his time in preschool.  He seems to be making strides in his patience with others, and I haven't received any notice of additional time-outs for poor behavior.  But so far, Cael hasn't made much progress on his reading.  Part of the problem is that, because of his October birthday, he is attending the 3-year-old preschool class at four years old, and the class can only work at the level of the slowest (or in this case, youngest) student. 

But that hasn't stopped us from continuing to work on letters at home.  He knows most of them in uppercase, but gets confused by the similar-looking symbols of "u", "m" and "n", as well as several others that can be written in multiple ways, like "a" or "g".  Each time Graham brings me a book to read, the three of us will sit and hear the story, and then Cael will point out the letters he can identify.  It's a slow system, but one that I hope will lead to his literacy sooner rather than later.

So you can imagine my surprise when Cael started rattling off letters on his kid's menu at lightning speed as we dined at Steak 'N Shake.  

"T-I-C, T-A-C, T-O-E!"

"Yes, great job--"

But as my eyes drifted to Cael, I saw that he was busy with his paper hat and not looking at his menu at all.  Graham, however, was chattering away and pointing out each and every letter on his menu.

I was simultaneously proud and embarrassed for not having worked on letters with him-- not even once-- as I was concentrating my reading efforts on my one child of reading age.... or so I thought.  In fact, the more I thought about it, I was sure it had to be a fluke.  How many children teach themselves to read without being prompted even once?

So I wrote out the alphabet on the back of my placemat, sure that this test would discount Graham's sudden genius.  Once all 26 letters were accounted for, I slid the paper in front of him and asked him to read.

"A, B, C, D, E, F, G!"

Like he'd known them all along.

The only problem is that with Graham reading letters fluently, Cael sees less purpose in learning them himself as long as he has his little brother by his side.  I feel much this way about math as my smartphone has a calculator, but this story isn't about me.  It's about my overachiever son and his older brother who might forever be copying over his shoulder.

Now Graham, the little show-off, is toddling around the house pointing out letters and items that showcase his new-found brilliance. 

"Geen balloon!"

"'R', Mama!" pointing out the letters on my shirt.

And very quickly he began compounding his interests... 

"Red shirt, boo 'R'!"

Yesterday colors, today letters, tomorrow HTML code.  I think it's only fair.


  1. Those 2 year olds can throw you a curve ball! Maeve started pointing out letters about a month ago...I was surprised, I didn't think she listened to a word I said :)

  2. He's a future bookworm! I started knowing my letters that young too.

  3. Sarah- They sure can! I just couldn't believe he knew it since I hadn't tried to teach him!

  4. klgregory- That's great! Cael is not on Graham's trajectory, but I know he'll get there when he's ready.


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.