I created a print-rich environment for my oldest daughter once I saw that she was recognizing letters and was curious about the sounds they made. I labeled items in our house and encouraged her to sound out what she could. That happened many years ago when she was a toddler. Soon after, when Fiona was 3, she started to read. She is still a voracious reader and reads 4-5 books a week.
I thought my youngest would follow Big Sis’ path. At the age of 3, the Littlest Pickle recognized all of the letters and would label them when we were out. She’d proudly tell me what letters she saw:
“Mommy! That sign says S-U-B-W-A-Y,” she’d tell me as we drove by the restaurant.
“Mommy! That sign say S-T-O-P,” she’d proudly state.
“Mommy! That says T-A-R-G-E-T,” she'd say as we passed the store.
Yes! Another early reader.
But while the Little Pickle could recognize all sorts of letters, she was not yet able to string them together. That is, until just a few weeks ago. Now, I hear these messages:
“Mommy, h-a-p-p-y spells happy.”
“Mommy, D-a-d-d-y i-s h-o-m-e spells Daddy is home.”
“Mommy, I lo-v-e M-o-m-m-y a-n-d D-a-d-d-y spells I love Mommy and Daddy.”
She’s right too. That Little Pickle loves her Mommy and Daddy. And we love her right back. We also love that she’s mastered learning to read and is transitioning to reading to learn. Instead of just labeling letters, every day is full of “Mommy, I can spell a new word. Want to hear it?” Yes, I do.
Her reading is taking off. So is her writing.
I found these strips of paper on the dining room table the other day. One of the other kids was reading Captain Underpants. The Littlest Pickle opened the book to a random page and copied a few words on some blue paper. Then she cut the words out. Then she left this message on the table.
Melvin cried George
The Littlest Pickle is learning. She’s reading. She’s writing. She’s creating a print rich environment on her own, and she’s building an eager audience. She’s recognizing that reading is fun. So is writing. Just like her mama, she’s writing and leaving messages here and there for others to see.