Bedtime with my sweet boys is a time of day that I cherish. OK, I admit that I look forward to a calm and quiet house once the little ones are nestled all snug in their beds. It is the bedtime rituals themselves, however, that make this time of day so special. Once Daddy has the boys scrubbed from top to bottom, the two little monkeys are separated for a calm wind down to the busy day. Hubby and I alternate each night, ensuring we each have valuable one-on-one time with Chi-Chi and Muffy. I cherish this alone time with each of them. It is a very relaxing time as we settle into a stack of books without distraction. Chi-Chi and I are currently working our way through the Little House on the Prairie series and I look forward to diving back into these childhood favorites from my past. Story time with Muffy is full of cuddles and consistency as he's hooked on a few favorite titles at the moment. There is comfort in the routine for him.
Chi-Chi recently began to express an interest in learning how to sound out words. Pointing to words in his book, he asked for assistance in sounding them out. Little House on the Prairie was certainly not the place to start for this little guy who always seems to choose the most complicated of words to read! I knew we had to start somewhere simple, so I asked for help!
I consulted with the boys' Montessori teacher and she pointed me in the right direction. Not wanting to confuse Chi-Chi,it was important that our work at home be consistent and complimentary to the methods they were using at preschool. A big thank you to dear Ms. M who answered my many, many questions very patiently. I decided to set up a series of object sound baskets as an interesting and inviting way for Chi-Chi to work on his phonetic sounds. Each basket is dedicated to a set of sounds and includes a collection of beginning letter sound objects. I spent a good week digging through junk drawers and scanning dollar and craft stores for miniature sized objects. The tiny trinkets add an element of interest to the learning process and help reinforce the learning of sounds. I made a point of seeking out objects I knew Chi-Chi would find intriguing such as dragons, insects and our dear friend Santa. For anyone interested in setting this up at home, I encourage you to check out the language posts on My Montessori Journey.
I am following Chi-Chi's lead on our sound and reading work. A self-proclaimed book lover, he is quite tickled to be working through the pages of some very simple and basic readers. It's almost as if he has a sense of the magic he can unlock when he learns how to read. The boy who loves to spend "private time" flipping through the pages of books will most certainly marvel at the ability to read the words on his own.
As we snuggle under the quilts and crack open another chapter of Laura Ingall's life, I am transported back to my own childhood. I am once again that young girl with long brown braids (just like Laura!), cuddled up in the bottom cottage bunk. Flashlight in hand, up way past bedtime, I soak up every word of these tales from long ago. The next morning, I insist on cornbread for breakfast (just like Laura!). In a flash, I find myself back in the present, close to thirty years later. Once again, I find myself up past bedtime as my sweet boy begs for just one more chapter. I cannot resist those dark brown eyes. His head on my chest, he listens attentively to each word, soaking up the rich and beautifully descriptive text. He is captivated by stories of bears and guns and the enchanting tunes of Pa's fiddle.
Yes my dear Chi-Chi, let the magic unfold!