And sure enough, this fall she has started showing interest again. She found my bag of Hooked on Phonics beginning readers and started sounding them out on her own. Then when Jed started reading time each day, she wanted some snuggly reading time with mom, too. I thought about starting her off again where we had ended last year, but I felt impressed that she would enjoy it more if we started way back at the beginning and let her feel a strong sense of mastery and enjoyment. So we went waaay back to the very beginning of Hooked on Phonics Kinder, which she tore through in a week or two. Then we went back again to the very beginning of Progressive Phonics and let her work through that Kinder program, and then recently we started up into the intermediate level.
About the time we started the intermediate level, I noticed that Zoe was sitting in bed and sounding out words from her library books. She would climb into bed with Zane and read him parts of his board books, sometimes just making it up but other times obviously trying to read the specific words on the page. Then last Sunday, while we were at her grandparents' house, she pulled out a favorite Dr. Seuss collection, and since nobody particularly wanted to read it to her for the 7 millionth time, I suggested maybe she could read it to me. So she snuggled up on the couch right between Mom and Grandpa and... she totally read it.
We got through half that night and she finished it at home the next morning. You should have seen her (quite literally) bouncing with excitement. "MY FIRST REAL BOOK!!!!"
Since then we've been reading every day. She has a fantastic memory for sight words, and she is not afraid to tackle anything. When she sees a word she can't figure out, it doesn't stop her at all, she annoyedly instructs me to read it, and then plows on through. If I'm not there, she makes up a substitute and keeps on reading. I love her fearless attitude.
Last night I walked into the bedroom for lights out, and found Zane and Zoe curled up in Zane's bed together. Zoe and I had just finished reading "Ten Apples Up on Top" for the first time, and now she was reading it out loud together. They were both giggling and howling at every silly page, their little bodies snuggled up together under the blankets. Zoe looked up as I walked in, and she proudly declared "Look, Mom! I can read to Zane now!" Zane shouted "Yeah!" And I couldn't help proudly smiling a bit myself, too. These kids make life so worthwhile, so satisfying.