Charlie only has 6 stories left in his last Faith and Freedom reader to finish up the 1st grade. The stories began with very simple tales in very large print, but have progressed in difficulty over the 3 book set. As recent as last week it was taking 20 minutes per 5 page story to slowly sound out each word, including ones that he has read hundreds of times such as "said" and "the." The whole experience was painful to him, leading to his constant wriggling and sliding down the pillows of my bed until he was almost lying flat, unable to see the book. I also dreaded "reading time" because I knew that inevitably the other children would act up and I would be trapped with my finger stuck under each word, waiting for him to put together the sounds.
But in the past few days Charlie has been reading faster, speeding up so my finger is darting forward rather than resting still until I have to almost restrain myself from reading it aloud. I know that his reading skills will only improve even faster now and soon he will be picking up picture books to test his reading independence and before I know it, he will be reading all 13 books in the Lemony Snickett series, much to his mother's dismay over fluff books.