right where I belong.

It’s happening. The moment(s) I’ve been waiting for since her birth.

My child is learning to read.

Of course we’ve been planting the seeds for years and she’s been pre-reading for quite sometime. But now, she’s officially on the verge. “The”, “and”, “is”, “to” – they’re all her friends now. She can scan through a block of text (like her Christmas carols pictured here) and pick out her favorite sight words. She can read through familiar text with her little finger  pointing one-to-one as she goes. And she can take pretty darn good guesses when the letter sounds and picture clues give her a bit of contextual help. She’s on the verge. And I’m elated.

Now that she’s found her reading legs, so to speak, she’s been letting me into that little brain of hers. She’ll ask me to help her with a book or to give her a few clues when she struggles. Never before was this an option. If I even so much as mentioned helping point out a reading or writing rule she would shut me down. But no longer. She’s finding her confidence and asking for help. She’s on the verge. And she knows it.

Brent snapped these pictures, unbeknownst to me, while I hovered over her, coaching. Looking at them pulls at my heartstrings and makes me long for my kidney shaped table with eager young readers circled around.

But the truth is, as much as I loved teaching those children to read there has never, ever, ever been a child I wanted to see succeed more than this one. (and her brother, of course)

Which tells me one very important thing: Although I’ll always be a teacher at heart, I’m first and foremost a mama.

And I’m right where I belong. Teaching my girl to read.

Danielle SDecember 22, 2010 - 1:27 pm


nickiDecember 22, 2010 - 1:40 pm

You are so cute…always a teacher at heart, but being the Mom is (SO much) more important!!! Enjoy every minute.

Carrie DavisDecember 22, 2010 - 1:51 pm

I don’t know what is sweeter, the little girl trying to read, the mama devoted to her, or the daddy thoughtful enough to see the moment unfold and capture it.

Sally C.December 22, 2010 - 2:33 pm

What a treat! You must just be bursting with pride.

So awesome that you have these photos. I love your body language in them, Erin. You can see yourself holding your hands in, trying to keep from reaching out and doing for her what she is working hard to do for herself. Such a patient mama, waiting to be asked to teach. That, on its own, is a gift that you’re giving her. Self-confidence is such a treasure.

Well done, Erin & Sarah!!

LisaDecember 22, 2010 - 3:07 pm

So Sweet. you both are so blessed!

JenniferDecember 22, 2010 - 3:08 pm

Ok first and foremost – cudos to Brent for slyly snapping away and commemorating such a wonderful event. Congrats to Sarah for becoming an almost reader!! She is very lucky to have an awesome teacher for a mama. 🙂

CarolDecember 22, 2010 - 4:20 pm

I sure remember how excited Sara was learning her sight words – and I can still picture you sitting at the kidney shaped table with her. Thanks for refreshing my memories of a “special” teacher!

Sandy BDecember 22, 2010 - 5:27 pm

Yep — my little one’s first sentence: “The pig sat in the mud”. Still such a precious memory. Thanks so much for sharing this special moment in your home.

AllisonDecember 22, 2010 - 8:27 pm

It’s such an awesome thing – watching your child learn to read. What’s even more awesome is finding them curled up in their favorite chair totally engrossed in a book – when it’s not for homework. Congratulations to both of you!

Elizabeth JohnsonDecember 22, 2010 - 9:45 pm

Love this one Erin, a Mama’s job is the most important. So happy you are getting to share these precious moments with her.

VeraDecember 23, 2010 - 5:15 am

That’s awesome!! I taught 8th grade Language Arts for five years before becoming a mama. My daughter is in 6th grade now and I’ve been teaching her all of the grammar rules they don’t teach anymore in public school. Call me a geek but I get excited about diagramming sentences, subjective and objective cases, how to use prepositional phrases properly and more. That’s so great that you have pictures of your daughter learning to read!

AngDecember 23, 2010 - 5:24 am

So sweet! And how awesome is Brent to grab these pics?! I just wanted to point out that you and Sarah matched! You’re coordinated even when you don’t try! lol 🙂

ElizabethDecember 23, 2010 - 10:47 am

I have been following your blog for a little while, but never yet left a comment. Today, I couldn’t resist. This is THE most beautiful post you have ever written. As a teacher, and a new mother myself, this one tugs at the heart strings!

kelliDecember 23, 2010 - 1:01 pm

Such a huge milestone. So much more of the world opens up to them when they learn to read. I’m so thankful both my kids love to read.

BarbaraDecember 23, 2010 - 6:30 pm

Hi Erin,
I love this post. One of my most vivid early memories is coming home from kindergarten and sitting down at the kitchen table with my mom showing her that I learned to read a book at school. I have a 3 year old daughter and I too cannot wait to see that light in her eye. Congratulations to your daughter on such a momentus achievement. Merry Christmas.

Elizabeth C.December 23, 2010 - 8:35 pm

As a former elementary teacher and mama to a 1 year old, I love it. I can’t wait for that moment myself. Congratulations to Sarah!

MelanieDecember 25, 2010 - 11:51 am

What a sweet story and you will be able to share that with her when she is older. I have been a stay at home mom for 16 1/2 years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Merry Christmas!

SarahFebruary 6, 2012 - 10:30 pm

Oh, my word. I don’t know how I stumbled across this blog… (maybe in the search for PS actions) but I’m so glad I did. I, too, am a teacher (1st and 2nd grades) turned stay at home mommy dabbling in photography and I am SO in this place right now. I miss teaching. It is/was my calling, I’m sure of it. But right now, in this season, I’m home with my girls ages 3 and 11 months. It’s tiring and exhausting and I can’t wait until I don’t have to help anyone pee but it’s also wonderful and going by way way too fast. I love these little ages but I deeply look forward to helping my own children learn to read. What a joy it will be. I’ve been following your photography for quite a while, in fact, one of my professors in college introduced me to your photography. Kathleen Carter, she said you were a family friend/acquaintance of some kind. Anyhow, I’m glad she did. I’ve been inspired by your photography and now, by your mama/teacher heart.

Go, B-Ro, Go. » The PigBearNovember 5, 2012 - 7:06 pm

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