A Bear Learns To Read

I’m teaching a bear to read.

So far I’ve helped seven children learn to read, but this is the first bear.

Every day when it is time for Paul’s reading lesson he runs to get his beloved little red and white beanie bear who proceeds to do the lesson under Paul’s control. The bear’s papa, one of those large white Christmas bears, sits nearby observing the process, occasionally giving encouragement to his “son.” One day last week I asked Paul if Papa Bear knew how to read and he responded with astonishment at my ignorance. “Well, yeah! He had lessons when he was, like, three!” I’ve even learned that Paul and his bear are twins. “He may look like a bear, and I look like a boy, but we are really twins.” Sometimes at the end of our lesson I receive sweet kisses from Little Bear.

Watching a child unlock the mystery of written language is one of the great joys of homeschooling. Once you can read, I tell him or her, you never need to be bored! Once you can read, given a good book, you can learn to do just about anything. (Tim teases me that I should never be given a book on brain surgery, or I’d try that.) And of course, reading is the start to a lifetime of learning, and foundational in the equipping of our children for the life work that the Lord will call each one to, whether that involves being an electrical engineer, a pastor, or a wife and mother.

But surpassing all these reasons to learn to read is the supreme goal of being able to read and delight in God’s Word. Since God has primarily revealed Himself through His written Word, Christians need to be “people of the Book.” This was true of the Hebrews, the Reformers and the Puritans. It ought also to characterize His people today.

Paul (along with his bear twin) is just barely beginning to read. But as he does, I will remember that the goal is not for him to just achieve literacy, but to read so he can love, understand, and obey God’s word in its entirety.

Psalm 19:7-11
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the dripping of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward


mrsd said…
Ah, but when the little bear reads, 'Goldilocks and The Three Bears', I hope he doesn't have nightmares. ;)
Hind's Feet said…
At the moment I think teaching a bear to read sounds easier than teaching someone else to read. This certain cute little somone has decided that every word must have an "n" in it! ARGH!! Oh how I look forward to discussing Shakespeare, Tolkien and Lewis. "See the goat eat the seed." is about to push me to my limits. However, as in all things, begin at the beginning and lay a good foundation. That's what parenting is about, right?!
Anne said…
Kim, hang in there with teaching your little sweetheart. Every one of my kids has gone through some kind of kink/plateau with reading at one point or another. But I know what you mean. This is my eighth time through 100EL, and “Sam is mad at me” gets pretty old! What’s funny is the older ones who still get a kick out of the stupid stories, and have to come back to see where we are, and laugh at the pictures again.

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