Maybe I sound like a bad parent but watching my daughter learn to read is one of the most frustrating processes of my life. It is enjoyable, enriching, amazing and also totally tediously exasperating. I should be extolling the obvious positives of the experience and 99% of the time I will.

I am amazed that a child, who in September, could barely recognise her own name is reading stories, short as they are, on her own. Writing her name, asking for you to spell out words so she can write them, trying to form her own sentences, sounding out every new word she hears so she can understand how it is spelt. She gets frustrated with herself but carries on regardless. It makes me proud and happy and hopeful.

It also makes my foot twitch that we just read a word three words ago but she has to sound it out like she has never seen it before. That the story is a repeating sentence apart from one word that changes on every page but we have to read every page like it’s the first time. I have almost lost my temper a few times, frustrated by the fact that nothing seems to be going in only to find that it has gone in, just not that day and then the guilt that comes with not trusting that she is a smart kid.

Her school sends reading homework home everyday and I am grateful for it. I loved reading as a child and I hope my daughter does too. I hope that in those moments of my frustration she ignores me, that she doesn’t notice the pained look on my face which I try to hide behind her head only letting her see the encouraging smiles and continues to build her confidence, even with the missteps and mistakes. As she learns to read, I need to learn patience, along with a plethora of other skills to make me a better parent, and watching and helping my daughter learn to read is helping me.

It turns out that you grow as a parent as your children grow, every time they learn something it is a learning opportunity for you, an opportunity to better yourself. So along with the aggravation is an overwhelming pride of how far she has come and the places being able to read will lead her.

Also, I need to keep my cool because I have to do this two more times!

Let’s keep reading and growing together.

xx Lee xx

Comments welcome below. Any tips for surviving those first few years at school?

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