Summer Reading

It’s my son’s first season with books. I’m thrilled—and a little scared.

By Ruth Franklin

This summer my son learned to read. Like all the childhood milestones, it seemed to happen all at once. One day he was wobbling on his seat, teetering back and forth, liable to fall on his face at any moment; the next he could sit up. One day he could cruise around the room only by holding onto the furniture; the next he was taking a single independent step, and then another, and then another. And even though it happened at the end of a year of school in which my son, like the majority of other American kindergarteners, was engaged for hours each day in explicit reading instruction, when the milestone finally arrived it felt more like the sudden flick of a switch than the end of an arduous process. One day he was protesting when I asked him to “help” me read some simple text, the effort visible in his face. And the next—or so it seemed—he was curled up on the couch with a library book, murmuring the words to himself, so deep in concentration that it required several shoutings of his name before he would bestir himself to come to dinner… Read More>>

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