Today was supposed to be my first time as a field trip chaperone. Flik's pre-school was going to the zoo. Instead, we had a torrential downpour, so the field trip was cancelled. When I dropped him off at school, I asked if there was anything else I could do to help out since I had already planned to have the day off. Flik's teacher asked if I would like to supervise reading time, which I agreed to.
So here's how it worked: Five kids were reading today. Each one had a different early reading book picked out, based on their reading level. This was their first time reading their books. The kid would sit next to me and read the book, then I would put it in a Ziplock bag for them to bring it home and practice. Here's how it went:
Child 1: Sweet little girl. Good reader. The only word she had any trouble with was "yellow." But she barely spoke above a whisper, so I was straining to hear every single word. It was tough.
Child 2: Was hopeful he'd be a little louder. He was, but just barely. And he was easily distracted. (He was four years old.) But every ten seconds he was looking at his friends, or under the table, or scratching his nose, etc. It took a long time to read the book.
Child 3: Ssssssoooooo ssssssllllllloooooowwwww. He sounded out every word so slowly. He did do a great job of sounding every word out though. Good job, kid. It just took a really long time.
Child 4: Completely not interested. We'd turn the page and he'd want to read the right page and skip the words on the left page. "We already read that," he'd say with a cute, little smirk. So we took turns reading. It was the only way I could get him to even attempt some of the pages.
Child 5 (Flik): Sits down. Reads the title. Opens the book. Reads every word like he's read the book a hundred times. He stumbled over a couple words (actually, he occasionally just guesses words instead of actually reading them, resulting in "has" becoming "had" or other similar errors) and gets easily distracted when a little girl nearby wants to hear the story. But overall, he speeds through the book like a reading superstar.
I had previously thought that my 4 1/2 year old was a pretty darn good reader for his age. It's hard to compare since one of my best friend's son is five months younger than Flik and can read like nobody's business. (Can sound out "neptune" and can recognize "could" and "should.") I also thought, "Yeah, but how many four-year-olds am I around? This is probably average, or maybe a little above average." After today, I think my kid is a reading rock star.