I love to read and I always have. Actually with me it can get to obsession levels, when I am reading a great book (or even a good trashy one) I can't think about anything else until its done so I stay up way too late and let the chores go. I have been really lucky because Cate has been fascinated with books since she was an infant. We have read to hear every night since she was born and she still gravitated to books even if she is stacking them instead of reading them.
To me reading is one of the most important things in our lives right now. We love Cate being in a typical classroom, I think it is so important for her future to keep her there as long as possible. Reading is the key for her now, if she can't read at grade level even next year in second grade she can't easily be in general ed for so many subjects like science, social studies, even health. I did not start sight words with Cate early, she started with 15 words in her pre-K classroom at 4 years old. We continued working hard on sight words with her kindergarten learning all 50 words from their list by the end of last year. Right now Cate is way above 80 but quite a few of those aren't on the official sight words list. We've let sight words slip as we focus on actual reading, as most kids in her class are doing. The teacher did an evaluation of all the kids in her class and rated them based on an A to Z system they are using. Cate rated at a solid "A" while the 1st grade norm is a "D". But even in the few weeks since then I've seen her get better and better. She is still in the memorization & decoding with pictures stage but she is gaining confidence all the time. I have great hopes she will continue to improve and get mostly caught up this year. Every night the kids bring home a book from their reading group, so for Cate either an "A" or "B" level book. Sometimes she might have read this in class with her reading group so it could be some memorization but I never know that for sure so when I saw this a couple nights ago, I grabbed my phone and caught a few seconds of her reading. This was the first time I'd seen her read this book (if you are getting this in an email you might need to go to the site to see it - its only about 30 seconds since was already reading when I started recording and the face at the end is priceless):
I'm don't remember the level on this book but it was either a harder A or a B. I have to assume at some point she had seen this book before to get words like "hop" correctly on the first try when it could have been jump or leap but a lot of that could come from our extensive reading on animals given these are the common actions associated with them. I'm not surprised she is getting the animal names correct because of the picture - what did surprise me is that she read every word correctly. She frequently does great decoding but in those situations you can often see her miss words. So even if this was part memorization, I'm pretty happy about it! She has been doing so great with Level A books that I asked the teacher to direct her choices to B books. She is doing pretty good at those too, although we have to sound out more stuff because there are less words you can use the picture to help figure out. We are making progress, we'll keep up the extra reading practice until its mastered!!!