When E was 4, I blogged that I thought she was close to reading. She knew most of her letters and sounds and was very interested in trying. It didn't happen though. Her brain wasn't ready yet.
When she was 6, I thought she was close. She was skills-wise, but not time-wise. It has been a year since then.
We have never done a "reading lesson." We have never done a curriculum or workbooks. There has never been a single tear over trying to read and I've never pushed her.
I've read many books to her since she was a baby. We've paid attention to the words in our lives- on signs, cereal boxes, labels, video games and everywhere else. She's played Starfall and similar games. I've told her the sounds of letters as she has been interested. We've played with magnet letters and banana grams. She's played with a few workbooks, and when I say played I really mean just that. The workbooks sit with the coloring books in our house and are treated the same way- use them if and when you want. We've played a reading flash card game the same way. I just wrote some action words on index cars (play, dance, sing, etc) and when I'd hold one up, she'd read it and do the action. It has been a fun, totally optional game that L has enjoyed as well.
However, I've never once sat down with her and said or implied, "Now it's time to try to learn to read."
A few weeks ago, she read The Foot Book and half of another book that was at the doctor's office and I don't remember the name of it. Some of The Foot Book was memorized, but she also sounded out a lot of words, and started picking up on some sight words.
Then she didn't do anything reading related for weeks, which is typical. She often has a big interest in something, then drops it for weeks or months, then picks it up again with sudden, new skills.
Yesterday, she was looking for The Foot Book and we couldn't find it. Today, I found it and handed it to her. She read it and then asked for more books to read. I pulled out Green Eggs and Ham and she read the whole thing!. I helped her with a few words that couldn't be sounded out and she didn't know from sight,
but other than that, she figured it out on her own while I just sat with her.
Her reading was interspersed every few sentences with, "Mom! I'm reading! Hehe! Yay! I'm reading! Hey you know what's more fun than watching tv? Me learning to read!"
(And on that note, we don't restrict tv watching and she could have chosen to do that instead with no pressure to do otherwise. Her sister was actually watching a movie in the same room the whole time she was reading the book. She chose to read).
*I changed some grammar and spelling issues and added a few more details from the original post.
It's been about 3 months since I wrote that, and she has not done a lot of book reading since then. However, she is still doing a lot of reading related things. She has read parts of recipes to me while we cook, read signs and labels, and played reading games. She woke up one morning last week and immediately said she wanted to "play a game that will help me read better," so we did some sound flash cards. Yesterday and today, we saw signs that said "stop" and "slow" while driving, and E,L and I started playing a game figuring out how to spell words that rhymed with stop and slow, based on how those two words are spelled. So, since stop is S-T-O-P, they were able to figure out that cop is C-O-P and mop is M-O-P and so on with half a dozen other words. Since slow is S-L-O-W, they were able to figure out row, bow, arrow, mow, and tow.