27, 2001 - Monday
Harry continues to be quite interested in my writing words on index cards and, thus, directly or indirectly, learning to read. His current obsession is the letter "O" and as I write any word now Harry almost invariably starts calling for that letter to appear. Sometimes it doesn't, of course, but more often than not given his insistence, it does.
This activity of writing words continues to be just a fun little mealtime game for Harry and not any kind of test with flash cards or mechanism for learning by rote. On the other hand, I have to admit to holding up a card every now and then just to see if Harry recognizes a particularly timely word. I rationalize these very occasional challenges as re-enforcement to Harry's understanding that these words do mean something and that if he doesn't know them now, he will someday. At the same time, I never wait very long for him to answer because we're just having fun and there's no place for self-consciousness or self-doubt in this. There have been a couple of incidences were Harry has "read" a word correctly. For example, there's a card that says "BIG RAISIN," written because Harry has grown fond of the oversized, brown sugar-covered raisins in my Raisin Nut Bran cereal. On Saturday, Harry read this card. His mother points out that it is just one of a couple cards with two words on it and he just recognized that aspect of it. Maybe so, but he's still recognizing that the words and letters do mean something.
Most of the time, however, Harry doesn't answer my question about the cards with anything more than a shy smile. And, maybe he doesn't "read" anything other than letters like "O" yet. I've even thought recently that Harry's reading breakthrough of MOMMY two weeks ago was really just a circumstantial misunderstanding: that maybe he was calling out for his mother, who was standing there, so he could read "O" to her. Yet, I still think it doesn't matter that much. Harry's getting the idea and enjoying the learning and that's what matters the most .