But I have another discovery to share with you guys that I never expected. Following our very recent IEP meeting, I left feeling 'always hopeful' with a dash of apprehension. How will we raise that reading level? How can he get a job, if he doesn't comprehend written word? What can I do in addition to the tutors and the teachers? People will not read everything to him, his entire life!
Well let me tell you, READ! Every night of Jake's life (well almost) we read a book together. I always choose one that he can help me read with bright colorful pictures to keep his interest. Easy plots and one main theme.
So today, when we received his very first "big man no pictures" books, (Kipling's Just So Stories), I admit I thought I'd have to put them away for a later time. But at bedtime, since he adores the woman who carefully selected the books for him, he was determined to read one before bed.
So there we are, snuggled under the electric blanket, his eyelids are heavy, his face/chest slathered with Vick's Vapor Rub to quiet his cough. I opened the book and we both giggled at the cracking of the fresh binding.
"WOW", he whispered, "this is like the bible book."
I read him five titles from the table of contents and he chose one that sounded fun to him. I explained this story was 12 written pages long, no pictures and he could close his eyes to use his imagination. If he fell asleep, that's alright, we'd do it again tomorrow.
He cuddled up against me and I was sure there was no way he would make it through the first giant paragraph. I put a lantern on my lap and started through the colorful writing.
I had never read anything so beautiful. As I worked through each sentence slowly, I felt as if I was savoring decadent chocolate. The words melted on my tongue and floated into Jake's ears. My heart skipped as I visualized the writing like amazing melodies.
"Jake, do you want to stop?"
His eyes were half-open, but he never drifted off. He listened to each tasty adjective, never hearing some of them before. I'd stop every so often and ask him if he was okay.
He didn't cough. (he'd been coughing literally all day)
He didn't sniff. (he's been running all day too)
He didn't move.
When I got to the end of the 12 pages (25 minutes) later I asked him if he liked it. He surely did! I asked if he understood it and he excitedly said, "Yes I did!"
I still didn't believe him and thought he just enjoyed the sound of all these new words.
Then I picked a very specific question relating to the theme of the story, not an obvious question, one he'd have to really think about, and he answered it then pulled up his blanket around his neck.
Hammer hit nail.
I just about fell over. My lesson for tonight, don't ever underestimate the abilities of our kids. Expose them to all written word, maps, bibles, or whatever even if you "think" it's beyond their cognition.
A new diet of fabulous language has begun. An entire new world is before us.