rio’s reading game.jpg, originally uploaded by MzMuze.

Rio made this!

I’ve been reading an interesting book, published in the 70s, called the Home Guide to Early Reading. This is pretty much the opposite of the Waldorf approach I’ve taken with my kids thus far. The author advocates a playful but structured approach to teaching reading beginning at about four years old.

Rio seems to be on the cusp of reading readiness, and while I have complex feelings about this, I thought we’d try a few of the exercises in the book. The first one was an exercise to encourage children to develop a directional sense, so that they can follow the flow of text on a page.

Following the book’s instructions, I made a narrative picture with a series of dotted lines in it. She needed to trace my dotted lines to get from the house to the apple tree to the bridge to the fairy circle, etc.

Rio unexpectedly loved this, and spent a long time on it with me. When we’d filled an entire page with my story arc, she said, “Mama, I want to do the next one. I’m going to make the pictures and you have to trace it and write.”

And then she did it. She even made the right number of lines for me to write my name at the bridges (a little game-within-a-game we made up, writing one’s name to ‘pay the troll’ at the bridge).

I guess I don’t have to worry about her falling behind on the whole reading thing. She can teach this stuff!