I found my oldest artist son sitting on the floor in our living room reading an adult novel. He was 9 years old. About six months before, we had stopped learning from the book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, after Lesson 50. He seemed to understand “how to break the code” of reading; now I was just waiting for him to be inspired to read. It never occurred to me to require him to practice after that by reading aloud to me from graded readers. I think it’s because he had such a positive relationship with print; he was always surrounded by books, even though he wasn’t a reader himself. Why wouldn’t he start to read on his own?
Even so, I was surprised at the book he was attempting to read as his first effort. I asked, “Are you understanding that?” He replied, “Enough.” It wouldn’t be until years later, as I researched in translation how my children learned, that I would understand what he meant by “enough.” He is a right-brained learner. These children learn to read in a way that is contradictory to what we’ve all been taught learning to read looks like in school.
He only needed to read “enough” words to catch the visual, which is what right-brained children do when they read anything; translate symbols to pictures in their minds. I wrote an introduction post about that. Right-brained children also prefer to read silently than to read outloud to someone as they learn to read. That is the subject of one of my earlier posts that gets the most Googled hits, so I thought I would refresh our memories by linking to it again today. It’s called, My Readers Ask: Silent Reading versus Reading Aloud.
I would love to hear more stories about you or your child’s preference for reading outloud or silently, and why!