Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Learning to Read Love Letters

As a former high school English teacher, I couldn't be happier that my daughter loves books. Instead of snuggling her stuffed animals in bed, my husband and I often sneak into her room, only to find her asleep, embracing whichever story she passed out perusing. We sometimes wonder how she can FIT in her bed with the dozens of books she insists on sleeping with each night. 

So when our little girl started showing signs of being able to actually READ, I found a cute way to help her practice.

By nature, I am a note writer. As a child I guiltily slid "Im sory i wuz badd Mommy," notes under my mother's bedroom door. In my teenage years, I spent more time writing notes to my friends, folded ever so perfectly into a football (you KNOW what I mean), than I did listening to many lessons. And as an adult, I'm still at it. Anyone close to me can attest that they've probably received some sort of note from me within the past year. 

I enjoy writing notes. There are so many things people overlook sometimes- the simplicity of thanking someone for a kind gesture, a few extra sentences on a birthday card to tell a friend how much happiness she brings into my life, a good morning reminder to my spouse of how much I love him. A few brief sentences can really move a person and bring on a heartfelt smile.

So, to help my daughter learn to read, I began sneaking into her room each night to leave her a little note to find in the morning. The notes started out with the simplest, one syllable words, and as time passed, I began adding an instruction to determine if she could actually understand the content. 

Soon, my sweet girl began running into my room each morning, proving she took the time to sound out each word so that she could follow the note's direction.

Lately, our daughter wants me to leave her a message every night. She loves starting her day by showing off her new skills. I have begun to challenge her more and more by writing longer notes with more advanced words. If she has trouble reading a word, she sits down with me and the note so that I can help her sound out the letters and look for context clues. It's so exciting to watch her ability develop.

Best of all, a few nights ago, our darlin' left US a note on our bedside table. She wrote her full name, our names and drew hearts to go with it. My husband and I got into bed that night and smiled till our faces hurt. The fact that our little girl gave us such a sweet note made us so incredibly happy. There are no words...
See? It's the little things sometimes. We don't need a crazy Mother's/Father's Day celebration to know that our children love us. In moments like this, we FEEL so rewarded in our hearts.

Through this experience, I have learned that if writing little love notes brings to others even a tinge of the joy my daughter's note brought to us, I'll be writing them forever. 

Note to self- These are some love letters worth saving. 
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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ctesh said...

Awesome Cally! I love it!!! Great idea!

Unknown said...

Thank you! This is really working wonders for my daughter!

Lorna said...

wonderful. i'm so pleased to read this as my daughter loves writing her name and 'mummy and daddy', so this is the perfect progression from there! Thank you for your inspiration.

Unknown said...

Thanks Lorna! This has been my favorite project with my daughter so far. Here's a follow-up post about how you can take this to the next level. I can't wait to save these books as keepsakes to read when my girls are all grown up! :::sniff sniff

Casa Dinella said...

Okay it must be in the family "genes"! I am a scientist and not a writer but have been doing this for years with my kids. I even got personalized paper two years ago, try personal creations as you can pick a face that looks like yours. Thanks Cally