You have to understand, I always read to my kids. Goodnight Moon, Dr. Seuss, all the usual books. I read a lot. I read enthusiastically, with all the funny voices, pointing at the pictures. The whole bit.

My son and my daughter both started reading in kindergarten. They were always among the better readers(aloud) in their classes.

One day, on the way home from school – third grade, my daughter says to me, “Mom, why didn’t you ever tell me the pictures go with the words?”

“What do you mean?” I asked. And the answer was horrifying to me. My daughter, to whom I read so often, had never understood that the pictures in the books went with the words. I pointed at the pictures, I asked her questions about the pictures, but I had never said outright, “Daughter, these pictures go with the story I am reading to you.” And she had not been able to make that connection herself.

While I was horrified that she had not understood that the pictures went with the words, this gave me some insight into how she thinks/understands things. And it made me realize that I needed to explain things to her VERY directly.

For the life of me, I can’t understand how she learned to read.

If you asked her to read aloud to you today (she is 17), she would read with the correct inflection, pronounce every word correctly, even words she doesn’t know or hasn’t seen before. I would bet you that her reading aloud would sound better than the reading aloud of most of the adults you know. But she would understand very little of it. She would understand any direct statements – but if there is something suggested – she will miss it. Neighbors complaining about barking, in a story, would not make her understand that there is a dog in the story, because the dog wasn’t mentioned, only the barking.

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