This weekend is Labor Day, the traditional end of the summer. That's doubly true for me, as I am a teacher and next week I will begin teaching and my son will start the second grade. Since I was 4 years old, I've been starting school in the month of September. I did that for 22 years as a student and I've been doing it for 14 years as a teacher. So in very real ways, this is both the end of the summer and the end of another year.
With the end of the summer, it seems fitting to reflect on just what the summer of 2007 has meant for my son. This was a summer of big accomplishments for my boy. First off, he learned to read in a confident way. He has been reading for over a year now, but this summer, it really clicked in a substantial, life-changing way. He took risks and sounded out new words and he saw how much more of the world is open to you when you can read. He began to read chapter books to himself. He calls that "reading in your brain" ------ no longer reading out loud to prove to your mama or your tutor that you can do it, but now reading to yourself.
I think that the leap in reading was fueled by another accomplishment: learning to ride his bike without training wheels. The bike is a world of freedom and speed for JT and proud doesn't even begin to describe this accomplishment. If you come to our home, you will be hauled outside to admire JT's bike and then you will be told sit on the front steps while he goes whizzing by you in a burst of speed.
The physical accomplishment really informed the mental accomplishment of reading. And the two came together beautifully. So I have enjoyed a summer filled with long bike rides and leisurely conversations on those rides. And then, when we come home, we can curl up on opposite sides of the sofa, each of us with a book in hand. And we can read together.
It's the end of the summer and that's always bittersweet. But with the mastery of these two skills, a whole new world is opening up for JT, a world ripe with possibility. A beginning, if you will. And that is a most happy thing.