About 6 months ago Katie was at a stage where she could fairly easily read syllables, but reading whole words required much more effort. She didn’t have the attention span or the patience to read anything long, and reading a few random sentences out of a some book just wasn’t that much fun. But where could one find such short snippets that she would be interested in reading?
The solution was simple: create them! Every evening I would write her a message that she would then read the next day. It almost didn’t matter what I wrote; she was excited to read them because they were written especially for her. She would even complain on the days that I would forget to write her one and remind me to not forget the next day.
After a while I decided that maybe I could use these messages to practice her writing as well as her reading, so I started asking her questions in my notes. However, I did not get the desired effect since she would usually either draw something for me or tell me the answer in person when I got home from work. Occasionally, she would write one word.
And that’s where kids’ love of secrets came to the rescue. I asked Katie whether she would like me to write her messages that only she and I could read. Naturally, she found this idea super exciting. The code was very simple: each letter was replaced by it’s place in the alphabet.
Katie understood what to do really quickly. After we deciphered the first message together, she was able to do them on her own from then on. The process required her to write the correct letter below each number and then read (as well as understand) what she wrote. Mission accomplished!
Here is a small sample of the notes that she has deciphered, in roughly chronological order. The first picture is of the very first secret message that I wrote to her.
What is your favorite color?