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When I hear the word "literacy" so many thoughts race through my mind. I remember when I was a young girl and my mother would order the highlights magazine, our visits to the library, and just glancing over and seeing my mom reading her favorite book. She was the perfect role model for me to become even more curious and hunger for more pages in a book. I looked forward to birthdays and holidays because I knew that a gift card with "Borders" or "Waldenbooks" inscribed on the top would be waiting for me.
This love continued throughout my college years where I continued to collect books, children’s books. I was immersed in them throughout my classroom visits and my lesson plans that were created for my college observations. I was taught how to create a lesson plan that was driven by a piece of literature. I began to have favorite Authors- Todd Parr, Shel Silverstein, Kevin Henkes, Patriccia Polacco just to name a few. I purchased books with the intentions of sharing my own love for reading with my children some day, who were a thought in my mind. How could I raise a child who had a love for literacy just like me?
Upon getting the news that I was expecting I knew I wanted my child to carry on that same love for reading. I packed my bookshelves with loads of books. The books that I collected were Early Emergent, Emergent, Early Fluent, and Fluent Readers. I wanted to have a supply of all books for every stage of reading. I began reading while my son was in utero. I had read prior to having children that the baby would recognize your voice better and I just thought why not start now?
When my son arrived it became a ritual that we read every night. He would choose the book, and the first book that he memorized was that of Margaret Wise Brown, "Goodnight Moon". Listening to him was like music to my ears. Just the fact that he was aware of the repetition and hat the illustrations amazed him every time gave me great comfort that he was well on his way. He soon moved away to Dora & Diego books and was becoming more independent with his choices. This made me even prouder to know that he was comfortable enough to venture off and choose what he wanted, and that I was not pushing him but guiding him.
Of course nothing in life is perfect and we reached our stump in the road just last year. My baby who loved reading so much soon became defiant and was steering away from that love. I questioned why but didn’t pry. I knew something wasn’t right. In my eyes, he was not reading on first grade level but I felt that I should ease up a bit and be mommy and not "maestra". My teacher mode finally kicked in and I began to assess him. According to Fountas & Pinnell Guided Reading he was not at target and I questioned how could this be? He is suppose to want to read, he is my son! I soon realized that he did want to read but his decoding skills were weakening as the words were becoming more difficult.
Every night we continued to read. I modeled fluency and we worked with our blends. We read for the phonetics component. As he became stronger in his phonics his love for reading began surfacing again. His reading became fluent and his levels increased within months. I remember listening to his voice, his tone, his expression as he read that "on level" book. My heart skipped more than a beat and by the look of his glance and the radiance of his smile I was reassured that I hadn’t lost that little boy who loved to read. He was brave enough to let his mommy guide him and to continue to strengthen that love for literacy that was so gently instilled.
Eileen is a 3rd grade teacher of a Charter school in Brooklyn, New York and a freelance writer for VOXXIMujer. A wife, and mother of two energetic young boys. She is a contributor for VOXXI and enjoys blogging about her pride in teaching, parenting, and the blessings and trials that life have to offer. You can follow her on twitter at EileenCCampos as well as on VOXXI.com.