Over at Still Life with Cat. What was your first ever reading experience?
I only remember reading books. Despite being a Great Reader, I don't think I was at all an early reader. I remember writing all kinds of random squiggles and pretending it was writing just before I started school, and feeling quite stressed about whether or not I would be able to learn to read and whether I would be able to write my name effectively.
Obviously all the reading out loud my parents did when I was but a babe did kick in, though, because I remember learning to read very quickly indeed once I actually made it to school. At that stage we still had Dick and Jane books and funny little books that included pictures for some of the words. I hated those intensely, because I already knew that a picture of ducks meant 'ducks' but I felt I could do with learning the word for it. They were tiny, cute books with covers hardly thicker than a playing card. The covers were soft from being handled for so many years. I would love to have one now because the type and the illustrations were beautiful. I am surprised I can remember something I loathed so much with such nostalgic affection. Little nostalgic affection for Dick and Jane, though.
The Noodle kind of learned to read about the same time he learned to talk. The lag was hardly noticeable. As a result, he has no memory of learning the alphabet or learning how print or text works. As far as he knows, he's always known how it works and how to extract meaning and entertainment from it. He had a phenomenal memory for words when he was a toddler, and pretty much learned how to say new words by their resemblance to ones he already knew. Phonics at school really helped his pronounciation, though. Up until then he had that real reader's thing of learning the meaning of word by context and by similarity to other words, but no knowledge of how to say things out loud.
I remember this a lot myself as an older child - I still have to think twice about how to say archipelago correctly. The Noodle, with a much greater geographical and political awareness than I ever had can say archipelago correctly. He knows a lot about Indonesia, apparently. I learned about archipelagos from Ursula Le Guin and thought they were as much a fantasy trope as magic rings and self-doubt.
I hope Pavlov's Cat writes a fabulous book on early reading. I'd love to hear about the diversity of experience, and the good and bad memories people have. And I just know that I'll pass on second-hand anecdotes about it for years to come. Yay!