I have to brag. That's okay right? I think this merits some bragging.
Recently I bought Ava some educational games from a wonderful shop on Etsy called Second Story Window. Ava love, love, loves to play games so these are just perfect. They teach phonograms, basic reading skills 3-dimensional shapes, etc. Tonight we played one called "Reindeer Feed." To be honest, I always put that one at the bottom of the pile when I give Ava the option to choose her nightly game. I hope she'll find something else she'd like to play before she reaches that one. And, on every other night she has. But not tonight. It's not that the game isn't fun, I just thought it might be a little out of Ava's league, at least for now. But, she proved me wrong.
The gist of the game is this. There are two reindeer Rose and Ross. Each with a feeding trough in front of them. On dozens of "hay" cards are written single words. A player draws a card and determines if the vowel sound in the word is short or long. They then feed the hay to the appropriate reindeer (Rose = long, Ross=short). While Ava has known her ABC's and all the sounds each letter makes since 18 months, grasping short and long vowel sounds can be hard. So, before we began the game I went over the vowels with her (we've done this before) and the various sounds they make. The first few cards, I walked her through the sounds. But after that, she was on her own, pointing out the vowel(s) in each word and correctly determining which trough they went in. On a few cards, she even said, "Okay, there's an 'e' at the end of this word so the vowel says its name." Or, she'd sing a little song to remember the vowels, "A, E, I, O and UUUUUU."
I was so impressed by how quickly she caught on to this concept and that she really, truly understood it. I brings me such joy knowing just how excited she is to learn, and more than that, how excited she is to learn to read. Soon enough, soon enough.