Choosing books for children with special needs can be tricky. I've found it hard to know what the right level of book is for Max—it can't be too wordy, but board books are too baby-ish. Lately he's into Thomas the Tank Engine, the reading of which makes me feel like banging my head against the wall. Supermarket sales circulars are more fascinating.
On occasion, I've been able to engage Max with Dr. Seuss books like Hop On Pop, because he's into rhymes. Then he started bringing home these 6-inch books from school. They're Sunshine Books, which come from Australia and are sold to schools across the world. The author, Joy Cowley, started writing in the mid-'60s, when one of her sons had difficulty learning to read. She has since written more than 600 titles. Whoa.
At bedtime, Max wanted Thomas the Tank, but I pulled out Up in a Tree and insisted. Max stared at the cover. "Up," he said, clearly. I pointed to the next word: "In," he said. And the next letter: "A" said Max. And the last word: "[Garbled something]," said Max. I made him repeat it; he has a heck of a time saying hard consonants like "t" and "c." But, indeed, he was saying "Tree."
Max had just read the title of the book. I was so ecstatic, I could have levitated off the bed. I gave him a big high five and boomed, "Great job reading, Max!" and he had the most gigantic grin on his face.
We read the book. The sentences are short, the words are in large type, repetitious and rhyming: "Up in a tree, what do I see? I see a bird, and it sees me. Up in a tree, what do I see? I see a dog, and it sees me. Up in a tree, what do I see? I see Mother...and she sees me." That's the entire book, quite the thriller.
Max identified the words "do," "see," "me" and "dog." Whoa.
I tell you this not just because I am ecstatic (which I am) or because I'm so proud of Max (well, yeah). I'm telling it to you because it's a lesson learned: Years ago, this was one of those things I wasn't sure would ever happen. Max? Reading?
YES, he is reading. YES, my boy will be a reader.
And once again I am pleased to say, to hell with you, doomsaying doctors who told me the worst and who made me doubt my child's capabilities. Max just keeps proving you wrong.
I'm writing the book on that one: Doctors Definitely Don't Know Everything About Your Child...And That's A GOOD Thing
I'm sure you know what I mean.
Which books interest your child lately?