Tuesday, July 05, 2005

flipping the switch

It was legend among Mrs. William’s kindergarten class—the moment when all the mysterious arrangements of letters on the page came together into words and God “flipped their switch.” Nobody knew the hour or the day when it would happen—you couldn’t flip your own switch, or control when it finally came on. But one by one, her classmates began to experience that current of energy running anew through their brains, powering a heart for reading.

Mrs. Williams warned them, as all good teachers do, that not everyone’s switch flips at the same time. But she assured them, as all good teachers also do, that everyone’s switch would get flipped. And so we waited for the legend to be carried on in our daughter.

And we waited, and we waited, and we waited… We stared at words on the page, confounding configurations of letters that confused the five-year-old mind. We uttered strange utterances and we stuttered and stammered, and still nothing happened. Letters on the page remained mysterious and mystical, and very few came together in ways that made any sense at all. But with patience and practice, she persisted.

One day, she was making up the story and stringing into it the few sight words she recognized among the pages into tales that sometimes went along with the pictures, and sometimes did not. The next day, she was reading.

Reading.

Not sounding out, not recognizing a few words here and there, but READING. Entire books at a time. I am in awe of the difference one day made in the life of my book-loving daughter. It is the stuff legends are made of.

There is nothing more miraculous than when God flips your child’s switch.

3 comments:

yomama said...

woooooooooooooohooooooooooooo
she blogs!
maureen

Cynthia said...

Lorie, this is great!! Seriously. I love this article. Reading is freedom and I can't wait 'til my daughter finds it!

annie said...

Lorie,
I read it all and I love it! Thanks for writing!