On Tuesday night, my nephew (number 4) slept over at my house. He has just turned 6 and about three months ago he looked at me with those big eyes and in the most polite voice he could muster, said, "M (not what he actually calls me), can I sleep over at your house?" What a sweetheart. I replied with, "On the holidays, if you are good, you can have a sleepover at my house." So, last week, my sister and I got emailing and set up the magical play date.
#4 has a few issues with understanding how the world works and he can be a bit wilful (can't we all?) so all the doors in the house have traffic light signs on them. Red for rooms that are no go areas. Green for rooms that are open season and Yellow for rooms that are okay if an adult is there. So, my room is yellow, the BFF's is red etc. This worked a charm.... the little darling was standing outside rooms examining my rough sketches and shoddy colouring for ages.
We watched several movies and Mr 6yo ate a pile of fruit and rice bubbles and it was 9pm. I was exhausted (not all that unusual for me), so I brought out the big guns. Story time!!
Together we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which is well known to #4 and joked that he is a "very hungry caterpillar" too because he eats so much. He; made predictions about what was next, read along with me and pointed to pictures and words as we read. I was so pleased to see how much he knows about text these days. Only 6 months of Prep and he is telling me about exclamation marks, identifying letter names and assigning a sound to them. He sounds out words (for fun) and asks me to read more! As a teacher of reading, I am over the moon about his sudden jump into the world of books. I know that his literacy has been developing for some time now, but when I start to see things falling into place for a kid (who, let's face it, struggles a bit) I want to do star jumps!
Of course this lively experience of The Very Hungry Caterpillar was a bit too stimulating because #4 asked for another story. So out came, a Mem Fox classic: Time for bed. In other words, "take a hint kid, M is tired!" So in my best sleepy sing song voice I read my little one off to sleep (almost). A big grin on his face as he recognised the repetition and a finger pointing to the pictures put me on a high. After the story was done, a delightful little boy was very sleepy and asked me stay until he fell asleep. Oh, what an angel!
While these little actions may seem insignificant to a reading adult, every little step in the reading process is important. I was reassured to know that #4 is well on his way to being an independent reader. My bright little button can't wait to read another book!
In the morning, I turned #4 into a mouse (yes, it's about time I admit it... I'm a witch), and we took photos and sent them to his mum. I had a great time and I hope he did too!