Friday, August 23, 2013

Reading Milestones: Mateo Reads a Few Sight Words

I wrote in my blog post yesterday that though we may be in the midst of trials or challenges, there are still many reasons why we should remain joyful.
Today, I choose to celebrate and highlight two blessings from God!
Our first blessing this morning is the improvement in Mateo's platelet and white blood cell count. Praise God! He had another blood extraction early this morning at 6 AM. Deep inside I was fervently praying and wishing that it would be the last blood test for my 21 month old son. I feel sad that almost his fingers on one hand has already been pricked since we brought him to the ER last Monday night. I know that these blood tests are necessary for us to find out if he is getting better but it still hurts to see my little boy hurt every time his finger is pricked and his blood is extracted. Sometimes, I just can't bear to witness it anymore that I choose not to look at him. Earlier, I chose not to look anymore. But I can still hear his cries and it breaks my heart that he has to go through this pain. Although God did not grant my request that it would be the last blood extraction for Mateo and that his platelet and white blood cell count would already be normal, I still thank God that these indicators have improved. They are ALMOST back to normal! I'm still asking (trying to convince his pediatrician) to let us go home already. I asked if we can be discharged today and just bring Mateo back tomorrow for another blood test. I hope she would grant our request.
Anyway, whether we are discharged from the hospital today or not, I'm still happy and thankful because there is an upward trend in Mateo's platelet and white blood cell count. I just wish he would be allowed to go home so we can look for herbs that we can give him and speed up his healing and the going back of his platelet count to normal. I plan to buy talbos ng camote leaves for him and give him the juice. I learned that these help strengthen the body's immune system.
The second blessing I want to thank God for today is the confirmation I got from the sites I visited that Mateo can now read a few SIGHT WORDS. We've been reading a lot and reading one board book repeatedly since we arrived here in the hospital. We brought Yanthy and Mateo's board book Go, Train, Go! with us. Mateo loves reading this book. It has become one of his seasonal favorites in the past couple of weeks.

Yesterday, Mateo surprised me when he started completing some lines of the book. At first I thought that he is on his way to memorizing the book since we had been reading it repeatedly. So I randomly pointed at some words without reading from the beginning of the story. To my amazement, Mateo still read the words that I pointed on! These are some of the words that he read: GO, NO, HAT, COW, MOO.

I excitedly shared this with my husband. He initially thought that Mateo has memorized some parts of the book (just like me). It's possible. But I have a strong feeling that it's not the reason why he was able to identify these words. I checked again by turning to different pages of the book at random and asked Mateo to read the words again not necessarily in the same sentence where he first read them. I was delighted to hear him read the words AGAIN as they appeared in other sentences in the story. Hurray!
But I didn't want to conclude right away so I paused for a while and started thinking. Then, I remembered what I learned about sight words. I blogged about SIGHT WORDS here before. But I do not claim to have mastered everything about them. So I googled them again to check if the words Mateo read are indeed sight words. Lo and behold, they are! Now, I can safely conclude that Mateo has achieved another reading milestone. Mateo can now READ a few SIGHT WORDS. Praise God again! I'm one proud and happy mom today! :)

By the way, after Mateo and I watched the GO video that I found this morning, he suddenly pointed on the my laptop screen and said UP. I looked at the screen and saw another video with the same title - UP. Could it be that he read the word UP, too? :) I gamely clicked on the video and watched it with him.

I was also very happy to discover new sites and materials that can be used to teach kids sight/Dolch words and to help kids master them. Below are some of the sites and materials I visited and found helpful.
I'm excited to use them in the future both for Mateo and Yanthy. I have yet to find Grade 5 and Grade 6 tests to check if Yanthy has already reached or surpassed that level. Last year, I tested him from primer to Grade 4 and he passed all of them. I ran out of tests to give him but I hope I can find new ones so I can assess his reading skills again this year.
I am amazed at how God has increased my capacity for this kind of joy and sense of wonder for my second child's milestone. I never thought that I could be this happy and proud again. The last time I felt this way was when Mateo's older brother (Yanthy) started reading sight words also at age two (2). I didn't expect Mateo to do the same because we eventually discovered that Yanthy is a gifted child. I didn't want to pressure Mateo to be like his older brother because they are uniquely different. It's possible that they would hit their milestones at very different ages. Thus, I just did most of the activities I did with Yanthy with Mateo without any expectation.

Today, I thank God for this wonderful surprise! Mateo just turned 21 months old last Monday. He's not even two years old. He surpassed my expectations! Actually, there are days when I feel guilty because I haven't been able to spend as much time exposing him to educational materials. I'm more busy now than when I had his older brother years ago. I have not even introduced flash cards to him yet. We simply do a lot of reading, singing, dancing and pretend plays. I also feel that I have not been talking to him as often as I used to talk to his older brother before. I seldom let him watch videos also unlike with his older brother in the past. Well, since the American Pediatric Society does not recommend that kids younger than two years old watch tv or videos, I decided not to expose him to tv or videos as much as possible. But since Yanthy has already been exposed and likes to watch tv or videos every now and then, Mateo had some exposure but not often. Moreover, I noticed that even when Yanthy is watching tv or a video, Mateo doesn't seem to enjoy or pay attention to it as much as Yanthy does or did when he was Mateo's age. Mateo would rather talk to me or play with me.
Could it be that Mateo is also wired just like his older brother? Possible. Yanthy's developmental pediatrician said that it's possible because he noticed Mateo's attentiveness and keen observation on the things happening around him the last time we visited his clinic. Yanthy's occupational therapist also noticed that Mateo has very good cognitive skills as manifested in his ability to carry out not just one but two-step commands during their OT sessions where Mateo joined. Dr. Ho of the Center for Giftedness said in the seminar I attended last year that it's possible to bear more than one gifted child in a family. She even said that in some families, the younger kids are more gifted than the older kids. Hmmmm... These are just possibilities. It's too early to conclude. In the meantime, I want to savor my blessings for today and celebrate God's goodness to our family especially to Mateo. 

Around a couple of hours after I published this post, Mateo's pediatrician gave us the go signal to go home. Yehey! God is so good! We'll just bring him back next week for blood test again and for follow up check up.

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