Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rhianna Learns to Read

Rhianna Dupre was 4 years old. Her sister, Jacinda was 8. Rhianna adored her older sister. She wanted to be just like her. Jacinda loved to read. "I read a whole chapter book." she said proudly to Grandma one afternoon when Grandma was visiting.

"Good for you!" exclaimed Grandma hugging her and giving her a smudgy lipsticky kiss."I'm so glad that you like to read. We'll have to take you to the bookstore and get you some new books."

Jacinda smiled happily as she wiped the lipstick stain off her cheek. "Thanks, Grandma," she said truly grateful. She loved books, and she was always happy for the opportunity to get more.

"I want to get a book too!" cried Rhianna jealously. "I can read too!"

"No, you can't." replied Jacinda shaking her head.

"Yes, I can." said Rhianna angrily stamping her feet.

"Then, why don't you read for us?" asked Jacinda. She went into Rhianna's room and grabbed a book. She handed it to Rhianna. It was Clifford the Big Red Dog. "Here," she said, "why don't you read this? It's one of your favorites." She looked at Rhianna as if she were going to burst into laughter at any minute.

Rhianna glared at her sister as she reluctantly took the book. She flipped the book open and  silently prayed for the words on the page to pop into her brain.  She starred at the book for a minute and pretended she was concentrating. Then, she began reciting the words as best as she could remember them.

"Those aren't the really words!" exclaimed Jacinda in an I-told-you-so voice. "I told you you can't read."

"Don't worry." Grandma said to Rhianna. "You''ll learn to read before you know it, and you'll be reading as well as your sister."

That didn't make Rhianna feel any better. She wanted to read now.

For the next week, at every opportunity Rhianna begged to be read Clifford the Big Red Dog. Mommy read it to her. Daddy read it to her. Jacinda read it to her. Grandma read it to her. Even Jacinda's friend read it to her.

On Friday when Grandma came again, Rhianna ran over to her. "Grandma! Grandma!" she exclaimed excitedly, "I can really read now!"

Jacinda still didn't believe it. She came over to listen too.

They all sat down on the big comfy living room couch. Rhianna opened the book and began reading. She read the whole book word for word and then closed it and smiled proudly at Grandma.

"Why Rhianna! I'm so proud of you!" exclaimed Grandma hugging Rhianna. Rhianna's eyes sparkled and her smile lit up her whole face.

Jacinda was still doubtful. Something did not seem quite right. She went up to Rhianna's room and grabbed another book. She handed it to Rhianna. It was The Cat in the Hat. It was another of Rhianna's favorites.

Rhianna sighed. She reluctantly took the book and opened it. She slowly began to recite from the story as best as she could remember it.

"Aha!" exclaimed Jacinda. "I knew you weren't really reading! You memorized that other book from hearing it so much." She flitted off out of the room happy to have been proven right.

Rhianna started to cry. Grandma tried to comfort her. "There, there, sweetie." said Grandma gently patting her on the back. "Don't worry. You'll learn to read before you know it."

That did not make Rhianna feel one tiny bit better. "But I don't want to read soon!" she cried. "I want to read now!"

"Then, you shall." said Grandma. She opened the book and pointed to a word. "What word is this?" she asked.

Rhianna gave Grandma an angry look. Now, Grandma was being mean too. She knew Rhianna couldn't really read.

"What letter is this?" Grandma asked pointing to an M.

"m." replied Rhianna.

"What sounds does M make?"asked Grandma.

"mmm." replied Rhianna. Grandma nodded.

"What letter is this?" asked Grandma pointing to another letter.

"e." said  Rhianna. Grandma nodded again.

"What sounds does that make?"

"e."

"Now put them together and what do you get? " said Grandma.

"m e." said Rhianna pronouncing the letters separately, "m e." she said again. "me." she said finally. "me!" she repeated excitedly. "Grandma!" she exclaimed happily. "I read a word!"

"Yes, you did." said Grandma hugging her. "I'm proud of you."

"Teach me more!" begged Rhianna. "Teach me more! Teach me to read!" They sat down on the couch and Grandma worked on teaching Rhianna to read.

After that, every afternoon, when Rhianna came home from preschool,  but Jacinda was still in school, Grandma came over. She and Rhianna worked on Rhianna's reading.

Finally, one day Rhianna was ready. "Jacinda," she said. "I'm going to read a story. Do you want to listen?"

Jacinda couldn't help smiling. "Sure. I'll listen." she replied. 'Here we go again.' She thought.

Rhianna opened Clifford the Big Red Dog. She read it from cover to cover. Then, she closed the book smiling proudly.

It seemed like Rhianna was really reading but Jacinda didn't believe it. After all, she had memorized Clifford the Big Red Dog before. She went into Rhianna's room and took out another book. It was a Dora the Explorer book. Rhianna would never have memorized that. She hated Dora. She only had the book because she got it for a birthday present. "Read this!" demanded Jacinda handing it to her sister.

Rhianna didn't seem worried at all. She took the book, calmly opened it,  and began reading. When she finished it, she closed it and looked up at her sister and gave her an I-told-you-so smile.

Jacinda was amazed. Her eyes opened as wide as two chocolate chip cookies. "You really can read." she said with surprise.

"Yes I can!" said Rhianna.

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