Today was the first time Hunter spontaneously read a word that he saw in a public place.
Yes, he’s read plenty of words before now.
But ever since I started teaching him to read, I always looked forward to that proud moment when my little guy noticed a word he knew (on a sign, label, etc) while we were out and excitedly shout outed, “Mom! That says… (fill in the blank).”
But, it never really happened that way.
Oh, I’ve waited for it, but Hunter is pretty reserved about his reading abilities and doesn’t care much to show other people what he knows.
However, today while we were at the park we had to make a stop to the park restroom.
He was following me as I started to walk in when all of the sudden he stopped and said, “Wait!”
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“That’s the women’s bathroom. I need to go in the men’s.”
To my surprise, there was no lady-in-a-skirt symbol anywhere around, but simply the word “WOMEN” written on the door.
I explained to him that, since he is a little boy, he must go with his mommy in public restrooms because it’s not safe for him to go by himself, but that when he is bigger – when he is a “man” – he will go in the men’s restroom by himself.
Then I proceeded to congratulate him and make a big deal about how he read the word all on his own, and he was all smiles and very proud of himself.
I don’t recall ever explicitly teaching him this word, but I have pointed it out and read it for him many times before, as I point out and read many other words we see around the neighborhood.
It was an encouragement that, yes, children will learn, if not always at the pace or in the way that we think it “ought” to be, they’re still learning, and probably more than we can ever measure or know.
“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul… And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates…”
Hunter is 4 years, 1 month old