I was spoiled by the first two children.
The oldest one, at 4-1/2 taught himself to read. One day he knew his letters. The next day he was reading fluently. The pediatrician asked me what I did and I told him the truth, "I have NO idea." From the time he was two, he was "reading" car symbols and knew every car on the road, make and model. So he'd gotten the concept a long time before, and it was just a matter of putting the new symbols with their meanings and he could read anything. I don't know how it happened. It just did.
The middle one was similar, though it happened closer to her fifth birthday. Still, I sent her to Kindergarten knowing how to read. She had a few more missteps than the oldest one, sounding out a few words, but on the whole, learned quickly and painlessly.
As much as I try not to compare my children and to cherish each of their personalities and abilities, I worry about the littlest one. As much as I like to tell myself, "HE'S NORMAL, THE OTHERS WEREN'T," it's still a little hard for me to get past the worry. But we had a huge milestone the other day.
We were walking out of a store and suddenly, he said to me, "Heely's aren't allowed in here. The sign says." To most people, "whatever" is the appropriate response, but I just wanted to squeeze his little cheeks and throw him up in the air, I was so excited. He's finally taking environmental clues and realizing that they say something. Much like the older one knew that car symbols told him what the brand of car was, the little one has figured out that all these things around him are telling him things. A red circle with a slash through it over a shoe with wheels means that you can't wear Heely's in the store.
And though to most, it seems like such a simple thing, I know that we've just taken a HUGE step toward reading. We could still be two years away, but we're making forward progress, and that just makes me want to shout from the rooftops.