Sunday, December 17, 2006

Little Bear, Mama Bear

Sweet M has been moving forward with her reading at what seems like supersonic speed.

Last week she read a book by Maurice Sendak and Else Holmelund Minarik called Little Bear's Picture and made this picture and text summary. Move over Maurice!

One of the many things I learned at Dr. Karen Erickson's conference presentation earlier this month is that learning to read is imperative for our autie kids because once they're able to read, their vocabularies can expand exponentially. What isn't readily accessible to them through an auditory channel can be accessible through vision.

My experimental sample of one seems to prove Dr. Erickson correct. We've been seeing a linguistic explosion around here. It really has seemed super-sonic. And many requests for read-a-loud. Will you read me Ms. Frizzle? Will you read me Sponge Bob's A Very Krusty Crab Christmas?

For me this is a dream come true, as one of my fantasies of motherhood — put aside in the face of the realities of the particular child we conceived — was of reading aloud to my little one. Since I had a mom who wasn't a read-aloud type, one of my compensatory fantasies was of reading bedtime stories to my own little pumpkin. Breastfeeding and reading aloud — two kinds of succor — were central in my pre-motherhood fantasies of maternal life.

It didn't seem it was going to turn out that way. As all the mothers in my mother's support group were contentedly breastfeeding and reading aloud from the Maisy books, I was bottlefeeding Sweet M with Alimentum, the only thing that she wouldn't projectile vomit, and turning on Teletubbies because she'd literally grab any book from my hand and throw it across the room.

What a difference eight years makes.

One of the things the parents of so-called special needs children are told is that "you'll dream new dreams." While I understand that this is meant to be encouraging, I've always found that idea cloying and annoying, as I've commented elsewhere.

Happily for me, in this case new dreams weren't required, just a dramatically expanded timetable, or the patience to wait for Sweet M's own burst of supersonic speed.

As Sweet M put it:

Little Bear was little.
Now Little Bear is big.

And I'd have to add that Mama Bear is thrilled.


Maddy said...

I have to sit on mine to read on them [not literally] but once they're captivated we're away. I also find that sometimes a book clicks and other times it doesn't - I never know what the magic ingredient is. Therefore I take books out of the library 40 at a time, plough through them and one or two will be favourites and the rest....well. Suffice to say we have heavy library fines but it's a small price to pay. Cheers

KathyIggy said...

Your post brought back memories--Little Bear were some of the first books Megan could read by herself, and since that was her favorite TV show as a preschooler, she loved being able to read about him too. The movie-book tie ins still work, since Meg's comprehension is probably 2-3 years behind her decoding skills and having something visual to relate to helps. We can't wait to see the new Charlotte's Web movie, and her class has been reading "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" too. A few of the "American Girl" books have been made into movies as well, and Meg also read "Because of WinnDixie" after we saw the movie. And there's the old "Little House on the Prairie" TV series , though I think the recent Disney version is more true to the books. There are also easier "Little House chapter books" for beginning readers that Megan still enjoys. I was probably a bit "Hyperlexic" as a child as I learned how to read before age 3--some say hyperlexia is on the ASD spectrum, so that may give some insight as to where some of Megan's issues come from....Happy reading! The "Amelia Bedelia" books are also fun as they help get across that words and expressions can have more than one meaning, and can really be used as teaching tools along with just a funny read.

kristina said...

Sweeter than sweet! My boy is not a reader --- though he does occasionally call for me to "read book," but has a hard time sitting through more than a few pages.

MothersVox said...

McEwen and KathyIggy, Thanks for those library tips and titles! The library's a great way to go when your house (or apartment, in our case) can't hold another book and the book request are busting your budget!

From reading about Charlie, and meeting him, my guess is that your sweet boy may very well be a reader in the making. Sweet M didn't want to read at all until we got that first 50 or so sightwords automaticized. Eighteen months ago we'd all but given up.

Now she's learning word family decoding, and is really into it.

Not, of course, that reading is the be and end all, but I have the feeling, just a hunch, that it's something that will click for your sweet boy, too.

Looking at all that Charlie has accomplished in his work, I have the sense that lots of good surprises may be in store.

This has been a big surprise for us.

Anonymous said...

I love your writing -- You put everything so eloquently. I'm so glad that I've finally "discovered" your blog.

Anonymous said...

YAY! that's wonderful!

Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

This is great. You should feel proud!!

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

Happy reading!!!! I know exactly how you feel, but with a different hope. Gabe's language did not happen when every other child's his age. When the other children were crying for mommy and giving deep hugs when their mom's reappeared, Gabe was content with or without me. In fact, it wasn't until well after he had turned two did I hear the word "mommy" and he meant me! The joy that that one word brought to me was and still is so wonderful to hear:o)

Cheers to the bonds that you and Sweet M will share and create through the world of reading.