Reading Comprehension: Putting It All Together

girl-277719__340, CC0_pixabayIn previous blogs, we’ve discussed the importance of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary (morphology), and fluency. Today, we’re going to examine how these components work together to develop the most important reading skill of all, comprehension. The ability to read words and sentences is a critical step to comprehension. However, years of research have demonstrated that accurately reading words and sentences does not automatically transfer to understanding the material read.

Reading comprehension, simply put, is the ability to understand and gain information from what you read. It is an important step in the reading process as children move beyond learning to read and start the invaluable skill of reading to learn.

As children reach about the third grade, they should have a solid reading foundation. The focus of their instruction will no longer be on sounding out words but rather on gaining meaning from text. Putting the pieces together to develop a deeper understanding of literature and non-fiction text. Some key elements for strong reading comprehension involve vocabulary development, both oral and written, inference, and text structure. These higher order thinking skills along with decoding are imperative in order to gain meaning from reading the text.

favicon_starfishAs a side note, but a very important one, if your child is still struggling with phonological awareness, phonics, or fluency in the third grade, it is essential that you get them help from trained reading clinicians. Without these skills, it is unlikely that they will be successful and will fall further behind in school.

Although comprehension becomes the main focus of reading instruction in the third grade, it is an important component beginning in preschool. Comprehension difficulties usually fall in one of two categories. The first category of inaccurate word decoding skills will limit a student’s ability to understand the meaning of what was read. The second category for poor comprehension is demonstrated by weak language skills, understanding our spoken language and its subtleties. A student may encounter challenges with word reading, understanding the vocabulary and subtleties of our spoken language, or a combination of both.

Here are a few ways that you can help support and enhance your child’s reading comprehension skills.

  1. Always ask your child about what they are reading. Ask who the characters are, what the setting is, what problem the characters face, and what the solution is in fiction text. If your child is reading nonfiction, ask them what the topic of the text is, what the main idea is, and have them prove it to you by showing you examples in the text. These skills are perhaps the simplest and most foundational reading comprehension skills. If your child struggles with these even as young as kindergarten and first grade, it is not too early to get them online reading tutoring. Intervention from a trained reading clinician can help them stay on track and ensure they do not struggle later. If your child is older, say second grade or higher and cannot answer these types of questions, you should absolutely contact a reading clinician to have their comprehension assessed.
  1. Help your child create mental images, when appropriate. One of the most important comprehension skills is the ability to create pictures while you read. When you read with your child, ask them about what they are picturing in their mind as you read. Always ground their mental images in the text by asking why they picture what they do. Have them point out specific words or lines of text that informed their mental imaging.
  1. Encourage your child to ask questions. Before, during, and after reading you can encourage your child to ask questions about the text. For example, if they are reading a fiction text, you could ask what they think will happen, why a character is behaving the way they are, or what the characters could have done differently. In nonfiction text, you can ask them what they may know about the topic, what information is the author focusing on, or about any unanswered questions they have about the topic. This can be a great way to encourage further research on a topic that interests them.

bef6b-mosaic2bbooks2bto2bideasAs your child gets older and moves into upper elementary and middle school, you can encourage them to use post it notes as they read to ask questions, record unknown vocabulary words, and note any surprising information. This can be a great way for them to interact with the text and for you to monitor their understanding. Plus almost all kids love getting to use post it notes so it may even motivate them to read more.

These are a few ways that you can encourage your child to use comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading. They are essential for helping students understand what they read and gain information from text.

As students get older, this is the most important and most emphasized skill in school. Nearly all standardized text reading questions directly related to reading comprehension. It is also the most important skill that adults use regularly to function in society.

dictionary-390055__340, CC0_pixabayOur online tutoring program at RW&C incorporates reading comprehension as soon as our students are reading. Each and every lesson includes a time for reading a passage and applying a clinician selected and modeled reading strategy. Students who need comprehension instruction are given explicit instruction in that strategy, and their practice is monitored.

We also employ comprehension strategies at the sentence level if students are not developmentally ready to read an entire passage. When your child works with one of our reading clinicians, they will get the comprehension instruction that they need.

Unlike a box program or pre-recorded program, our clinicians respond to your child in real time, clearing up any misunderstandings and ensuring that your child understands their passage as they are reading it. We also work with you to practice these skills at home in a meaningful way.

If your child struggles with reading comprehension, get them the help they need today. Contact us for a screening to determine if your child needs intervention.

Becky Welsch

RW&C, LLC

www.rwc4reading.com






Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.

Becky has worked with struggling readers in the primary as well as secondary grades. Her experience also includes intensive reading intervention both in person as well as with online teletherapy.
Becky has experience with early literacy skills like phonics and phonemic awareness development. She has used several structured literacy programs including Language! and Spalding phonics. She is also trained to administer DIBELS tests and has worked with the DIBELS Next reading remediation program.

Fluency: Bridging The Gap Between Phonics And Comprehension

mosaic-catepillarIn our previous blogs, we discussed the importance of phonemic awareness and phonics development for pre-emergent, emergent, and beginning readers. While understanding and manipulating phonemes and decoding are both essential skills, children must move beyond them to become proficient readers. A critical development in the reading process is fluency.

Fluency is the ability to read words accurately with both speed and expression. When a child is able to read fluently, their reading should sound natural. The words should flow well, and the child will use appropriate expression and intonation when reading aloud.

If a child is not a fluent reader, their reading will sound choppy. They may get stuck on certain words or have to read parts of the text multiple times. Their reading will lack expression; questions, statements, and exclamations will be read with the same monotone intonation. They will disregard punctuation and pause at awkward spots in the text.

So, why is fluency an issue? Without fluency, it is tough to move from just decoding words to reading and understanding an entire passage. Fluency is the bridge between word recognition and comprehension. When children read with fluency, they do not spend mental energy on decoding words. Hence, they are able to focus on the passage meaning. If children do not develop reading fluency, comprehension will become difficult, and their ability to read at grade level will suffer.

mosaic-booksIf you are not sure if your child struggles with reading fluency, ask yourself a few key questions. First of all, does your child take a disproportionately long time to read a short passage both aloud and silently? Does your child’s reading sound labored and choppy? Does their reading lack expression? Does your child have trouble understanding what they read? Does your child self-correct many words read in the passage? If you answered yes, it is possible your child has difficulty with fluent reading.

If you suspect your child is having difficulty with reading fluently, there are a few things you can do at home to try to help. If your child seems to get lost in text easily, frequently having trouble keeping their place, have them try print tracking. Using a finger or some kind of pointer, have your child follow along with the words they are reading so they do not get lost.

Secondly, have your child read the text aloud more than once. The first time focus on decoding and then with repeated readings focus on fluency, particularly accuracy and expression. This activity is helpful because with repeated readings, the struggle to decode should diminish and your child can concentrate on reading fluently. While your child reads aloud, provide constructive feedback when errors are made.

learn-921255__340-cc0_pixabayPractice choral reading. Initially, read aloud to your child to model fluent reading while having them follow along in the book. Next, reread the book and invite your child to read any words he recognizes you are reading. Read the same book three to five times, however, not on the same day using this choral reading practice. Soon, your child should be able to read the story independently.

Use poetry or other books with clear rhythmic patterns. This can help your child hear the natural rhythm of the text, making it easier to read fluently. You can also try giving your child short phrases to read and asking them to read them as a statement, question, and exclamation to practice reading with expression.

mosaic-bird-of-paradiseIf you notice that these activities are not helping your child, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to get them professional assistance. Reading fluency is paramount to becoming a proficient reader and without it, it is unlikely that your child will make the progress necessary to go from learning to read versus reading to learn. With an escalating amount of reading each grade level, your child may quickly fall behind.

Our Structured Literacy online program incorporates reading fluency into each and every session. With repeated readings, sentence and phrase reading, and developing fluency in longer texts, we can help your child become the fluent reader they need to be.

Our trained Reading Clinicians understand how reading fluency develops and have multiple strategies to help nurture and expand this skill. They will help you make sure that your child develops the fluency needed to help them succeed in becoming a life-long reader.

If you have concerns about your child’s reading fluency or any other area, contact us today to find out how our online tutoring program can help your child flourish.

Becky Welsch

RW&C, LLC

www.rwc4reading.com






Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.

Becky has worked with struggling readers in the primary as well as secondary grades. Her experience also includes intensive reading intervention both in person as well as with online teletherapy.
Becky has experience with early literacy skills like phonics and phonemic awareness development. She has used several structured literacy programs including Language! and Spalding phonics. She is also trained to administer DIBELS tests and has worked with the DIBELS Next reading remediation program.
Phonics: Understanding The Relationship Between Sounds And Letters

Phonics: Understanding The Relationship Between Sounds And Letters

mosaic-catepillarIn a previous post about phonemic awareness, I discussed the importance of emergent reader’s understanding of phonemes or sounds in words. As children develop strong phonemic awareness skills, they need to begin to associate the sounds in words to letters or graphemes. The relationship between sounds and letters is called phonics.

 

Phonics is an essential building block in the reading process. Without learning to associate the phoneme with the grapheme, reading cannot occur. For fluent readers, phonics seems almost common sense, however, there is no natural connection between sounds and letters. Phonics cannot be learned through osmosis but instead must be explicitly taught.

 

748fa-alphabet-1219546__340252c2bcc0_pixabayPhonics is particularly important for emergent readers. Beginning around the age of 5, children should have daily explicit phonics instruction. Like many reading skills, some children may need only minimum exposure to a letter to connect the associated sound. Other children may need repeated and constant exposure to a letter to become automatic in connecting the correct sound. If your child is older and still struggling with letter-sound relationships, they can still benefit from phonics instruction. Every child must know the names and sounds of all the letters in the alphabet to become a good reader.

 

Here are a few ways that you can practice phonics skills with your child at home to help increase their reading proficiency:

  • Word Building: Using letter cards or Scrabble tiles, have your child build words. Encourage your child to first segment the sounds orally and then use the corresponding letter card to build the word and blend it back together. Talk with your child’s teacher or reading tutor to find out appropriate words to work on.
  • Letter Sound Practice: Make flash cards of letters or spelling patterns and quiz your child on them. For a list of appropriate spelling patterns talk with your child’s reading clinician  or teacher.
  • Race to Build a Word: Draw 7 consonants and 2 vowels from a stack of letter cards. Challenge your child to a race to see who can build the most words in 3 minutes. To make this more challenging use digraphs. Digraphs are two adjacent letters in the same syllable that represent a single speech sound. Some examples of consonant digraphs are (sh, ch, th, etc.). Vowel digraphs often called vowel team examples such as ( ee, ea, ay, ai, etc.) will add a higher level of practice . Check with your child’s teacher or reading tutor to see which digraphs are appropriate for your child’s level.
  • Slap A Letter: Create a game board of letters and digraphs that your child is working on using butcher paper or poster board. Give your child a fly swatter. Call out a sound and have your child slap the appropriate spelling pattern with their fly swatter.
  • Writing Practice: Say sounds and have your child write the appropriate grapheme. Say words and have your child segment the sounds and spell the words. Encourage your child to tell you how many sounds are in a word and identify any instances where two letters make one sound (like ck, sh, ay, etc.). Always ask your child to segment before writing and read the word when they are done.

 

mosaic-booksThese activities will help your child develop the phonics skills necessary to become a fluent reader. If you have an older child who struggles with reading, you may consider trying some of these to find out if phonics is an area they struggle.

If your child struggles with this foundational skill, it is imperative that you get them help from a reading specialist with training in structured literacy. Without explicit phonics instruction, it is unlikely that students with reading difficulties will increase their reading proficiency. If your child struggles, the best thing you can do as a parent is get them help as early as possible.

In our online tutoring program, our trained clinicians systematically and thoroughly teach phonics concepts to ensure that children master reading and writing. We also encourage parents to work with their children at home and provide many resources for you to use to help your child. If you are worried about your child’s reading, call us today to discuss your needs and learn how online tutoring with systematic phonics instruction can help your child succeed.

Look for more reading tips and tricks coming soon. If you are concerned about your child’s reading, call us today to set up a screening and find out if our online tutoring program is the right fit for your child.

Becky Welsch

RW&C, LLC

www.rwc4reading.com






Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.

Becky has worked with struggling readers in the primary as well as secondary grades. Her experience also includes intensive reading intervention both in person as well as with online teletherapy.
Becky has experience with early literacy skills like phonics and phonemic awareness development. She has used several structured literacy programs including Language! and Spalding phonics. She is also trained to administer DIBELS tests and has worked with the DIBELS Next reading remediation program.
Helping Your Child With Reading: Phonemic Awareness

Helping Your Child With Reading: Phonemic Awareness

 

learn-921255__340-cc0_pixabayPhonemic awareness is the foundation of reading success; however, many parents have no idea what it even is. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words without the association with specific letters. One way to think about phonemic awareness activities is that you should be able to do them in the dark. There is no need to read or use letters, just sounds.

 

Your child should begin to understand basic phonemic awareness concepts like rhyming and initial sounds around the age of three. As they advance in the understanding, most kids should master more complex skills like segmentation and substitution around the age of five or six.

 

Even older children will still need phonemic awareness skills like phoneme and syllable segmentation to read and spell more complex words. If your child struggles with phonemic awareness, it is very likely that they will have reading difficulties.

 

mosaic-booksHere are a few activities you can do to help your child develop phonemic awareness:

 

  • Rhyming games: ask your child to produce words that rhyme with ______. This is a great activity because you can do it anywhere. I often play this with my four-year-old while we drive to school. You can also increase the difficulty by making it a game for points where you take turns and whoever cannot come up with a rhyme loses.

 

  • Beginning, middle, and ending sounds: Knowing the first sound in a word is important to develop reading skills later. You can say a word and ask your child to repeat the first sound (important note, this is about sounds, NOT letters. If you say bird your child should say the /b/ sound, not the letter name b). You can repeat this activity with middle and ending sounds. If you are feeling ambitious you can also do initial sound sorts. You can purchase them online or you can create your own. Basically you find objects or pictures that have the same beginning sound. Your child would take two to four beginning sounds, mix them up, and sort them. You can also do this with middle and ending sounds for an extra challenge.

 

  • Segmenting and blending sounds: According to many experts, these are the most important phonemic awareness skills when it comes to reading development. Children must be able to stretch out sounds in words and put them back together. An easy way to do this is to say a word like cat and have your child tell you the sounds (important note, your child should say /k/ /a/ /t/ the sounds, not spell the word cat). You can also say the sounds in a word and ask your child to put it back together. Another way to practice is to use rubber bands. Have your child hold a rubber band on their thumbs and literally stretch the sounds in a word. Then they can put it back together by blending it into a word. You can also use blocks or other objects you have around the house. Line up the objects and say a word. Have your child pull down an object as they say each sound. The number of objects should match the number of sounds.

 

748fa-alphabet-1219546__340252c2bcc0_pixabayPracticing these phonemic awareness skills with your child will strengthen their understanding of the foundational elements of reading. If you have an older child who struggles with reading, you might try some of these activities to see if they are able to do them.

 

If you child struggles with these activities or other phonemic awareness skills, it is imperative that you get them help from a reading professional. Without phonemic awareness skills, your child will always struggle with reading.

 

Our online tutoring program offers phonemic awareness support with each and every session. Our trained clinicians understand this foundation concept and can use it to help with reading and spelling at every level. If you want to learn more or need to know more about phonemic awareness, contact our office today.

 

 

 

Becky Welsch

RW&C, LLC

www.rwc4reading.com






Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.

Becky has worked with struggling readers in the primary as well as secondary grades. Her experience also includes intensive reading intervention both in person as well as with online teletherapy.
Becky has experience with early literacy skills like phonics and phonemic awareness development. She has used several structured literacy programs including Language! and Spalding phonics. She is also trained to administer DIBELS tests and has worked with the DIBELS Next reading remediation program.
Beat the Summer Slump with Online Tutoring

Beat the Summer Slump with Online Tutoring

 

online tutoring
With online tutoring your child can stay
sharp all summer long and even pick up new skills. This will help keep them
ready for the challenges of the new school year.
 
As a teacher, I have personally seen what is called the
“summer slump.” When students come back to school in August or September they
are often lacking skills that they had mastered towards the end of the previous
grade level. Even students that are advanced academically come back with
deficits. Most students are able to catch up relatively quickly because for
them, reading is like riding a bike. However, for students with dyslexia and
other reading difficulties, the summer slump can make school even more
challenging and frustrating.
It is important to note that summer skill loss is not
inevitable. By engaging your child in reading activities that are purposeful,
rigorous, and fun it is possible for your student to retain all of their
previously learned skills and even make progress.
One great way to beat the summer slump is with an online tutoring program. The online tutoring program we offer at
RW&C is a comprehensive structured literacy methodology and includes instruction
from a trained reading clinician. All of our clinicians have proven their ability
to understand the ins and outs of the English language and use effective
strategies to teach it to students. With our online tutoring program your child will receive forty-five minutes
of direct, focused instruction each week.
online tutoring
In addition, our clinicians will assess your child in order
to make sure s/he receives quality, targeted instruction. Since our tutoring is
one on one, there is no one size fits all and the program is adjusted to fit
the needs of your child. This means that whether your child struggles with
language, phonemic awareness, spelling, comprehension, or some combination of
skills, our clinicians will be able to deliver the content your child needs to
improve individual skills.

Our online tutoring program also offers flexibility. Since you don’t have to physically be present,
your child can get help anywhere there is Wi-Fi. This means that most trips
don’t have to be scheduled around your sessions because you can complete them
on the go.

Finally, our online
tutoring
is designed to be fun. Our clinicians are skilled at motivating
students and keeping them engaged. There is also a fun, game based online
practice options that kids love! This additional weekly practice is key to
success and students have a great time with it. This helps build skills as well
as a positive attitude around reading and spelling.

 

If online tutoring sounds like a good option for your family this summer, call our office today to
schedule your first session. With quality online instruction your child will be
on the right path towards over-coming the summer slump and retaining all those
skills s/he worked so hard to gain last year. 

Becky Welsch

RW&C, LLC

www.rwc4reading.com

(480) 213-4156






Becky Welsch has a Master’s degree in K-8 Education. She is certified to teach in the state of Arizona and has special endorsements in the areas of English Language Learners and Reading.

Becky has worked with struggling readers in the primary as well as secondary grades. Her experience also includes intensive reading intervention both in person as well as with online teletherapy.
Becky has experience with early literacy skills like phonics and phonemic awareness development. She has used several structured literacy programs including Language! and Spalding phonics. She is also trained to administer DIBELS tests and has worked with the DIBELS Next reading remediation program.
Lower Your Standards

Lower Your Standards

I am a member of a couple different parenting groups on Facebook and I have become pretty close friends with many of the ladies (and few rogue gentlemen) in them. Lately, I have noticed a pretty common theme among the posts: moms who feel like they are not good enough. As moms, we are so hard on ourselves. All. The. Time. We compare ourselves to every other mom and our child to every other peer. I have been there. You see that mom with the perfectly styled hair, boots, size 4 skinny jeans, and designer purse leisurely strolling through the mall with her Abercrombie model in training tot.

47566820cf8cf16bab31f41d10be451a

Your kid doesn’t look this stylish all the time? That’s ok…

.Meanwhile, there I am, unwashed hair, dirty flip flops, I am not even going to mention what size yoga pants, and target purse crammed full of cheerios and diapers. My cutest accessory by far is the smiling baby that is strapped onto my body by a baby carrier that cost more than my entire outfit. My son is trailing behind me, begging for ice cream with his insane, uncombed hair and Disney Cars shirt because he will literally only wear something with a Disney character on it. No cute seer sucker shorts and polos for him. He rolls with a Lightning shirt and putrid smelling Mickey Crocs (side note, how do crocs start smelling SO bad SO fast?).

Actually, if I am being honest this is what my toddler usually looks like. I put a Disney shirt on for public appearances.

Actually, if I am being honest this is what my toddler usually looks like. I put a Disney shirt on for public appearances.

It is hard not to feel inadequate. Why can’t I be so skinny and fashionable? Why aren’t my children so well behaved?

Here is the problem moms, our expectations are too high. Living in a cyber-world of mommy blogs with perfectly coiffed moms who make everything from scratch, can their own fruit, create elaborate child crafts and activities, build fucking chicken coops, and never, ever yell doesn’t help. I will admit, I had expectations that were way too high when I first started staying at home. I thought that my job was the reason I never got any housework done or had time to go the gym. Turns out, it’s not. I am no more likely to have a clean house or work out than I was when I worked outside of the home full time. Staying home with kids is just as hard as working a 40 plus hour week and I do not have any extra time like I thought I would. Working and staying at home are hard and don’t leave very much room for free time.

So, this leaves me with a dilemma. I can either work myself to the bone and get everything done, or neglect my children so I can clean my house and check some Pinterest projects off of my to do list. However, I choose option three. Lowering my standards. Here are just a few ways that I suggest every mom lowers her standards and gives herself a little break:

  1. The house: I really thought I would be able to not only clean but also organize my house. I would have all sorts of time during nap time to get things done. Ha! My kids haven’t taken more than 45 minutes of concurrent nap time since I have been home. I manage to vacuum once a week and do the laundry. I never have time to put laundry away. But you know what, we are just going to wear it again anyway, it’s fine in the basket. No one is going to die because I don’t put my clothes away. If you come over and go through my closets or drawers, you will be appalled by the amount of junk in there. But, here’s a thought, stop snooping through my stuff. Also, if you drop by unexpectedly, I will probably pretend we aren’t home. Unless I really like you and don’t care if you see the Hot Wheels vs. Legos war zone that is my living room.

    This is what the inside of your closet looks like? Who cares? It's a closet...

    This is what the inside of your closet looks like? Who cares? It’s a closet…

  2. Appearance: I really thought I was going to be that mom who always looks put together. I even went out and bought cute stay at home clothes. I would wear a maxi skirt, cute colorful shorts, tank tops, and always, always shower. I would never look like a hot mess. Um, yea…. That is not how life is. When you are up 5 times between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, you are not going to get up at 5:00 so you can shower and get ready unless you have to. Instead, I usually wear yoga pants, sometimes shorts, and most of the time I rub some baby powder in my hair to make it look presentable (I read somewhere that it works like dry shampoo. Not sure if that is true but it makes me feel better about myself). I usually also put on a sports bra and running shoes so people will think that I am on my way to or from (probably from) a workout. I wear my wedding ring if I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. If I am particularly hot mess-like, I don’t wear my wedding ring so that people don’t feel sorry for my husband.

    My face usually also looks exactly this insane as well...

    My face usually also looks exactly this insane as well…

  3. Fitness: Although I always have on workout clothes, I rarely (ok, never) have been working out. I really thought I would have time for the gym. I don’t. When I do have a few minutes to myself the last thing I want to do is go for a run or get on an elliptical. I know there are those of you out there who will tell me all about ways to make time. Don’t. I don’t want to hear it. I have greatly lowered my expectations here and am fine with a brisk walk to the park being my only workout for the day (ok, week).
  4. Dinner: I was so certain that work was what was holding me back from having the energy to make a nutritious, home cooked meal for my family. Turns out, parenting is just as exhausting. I do cook more but that is for financial reasons more than wanting to provide nutritious food for my family. My toddler doesn’t eat anything I make anyway so it’s totally fine to have chili cheese tater tots for dinner.

Of all the things I don’t expend my time and energy on, I do play with my kids, a lot. I am on the floor most of the day playing cars, blocks. Puzzles, and helping my daughter stand up 50,000 times. We go out to the Children’s Museum or zoo almost weekly, not because I am an awesome mom but because it gives me a little bit of time to relax and watch my 2 year old burn off energy. And we get awesome naps afterwards.

I am not perfect. You are not perfect. Even that mom with the built from scratch chicken coop and all organic garden is not perfect. I am so much happier since I have stopped trying to be perfect. Pick one or two things you care about, and then let the rest go. Oh, and if a blog makes you feel bad about yourself, stop reading it. And come read mine. Because you are guaranteed to feel better about yourself after reading about how much of a mess I am. Oh, and if you happen to see me out and about looking like a slob, humor me and ask how my workout was, even though you know that’s grease, not sweat, in my hair.

Letters To My Two Year Old: Dear E

My fourth guest author is Anne.  Anne a single mother to two year old E. Anne’s husband passed away when E was two months old. I met Anne through an online parenting group and I have been blown away by her grace, intelligence, dedication, and general bad assness (it’s a word, trust me). She is an avid runner and architect who can fix almost anything that breaks in her home, works multiple jobs, and still manages to find time to be a amazing parent. This letter expresses her love for her daughter and how E saved Anne during one of the hardest times of her life. I hope you enjoy its beauty as much as I do. You might need some Kleenex for this one.

2013-10-27 14.24.31

Dear E,

I can say, without any exaggeration, that you saved my life. There are things that happened that caused my legs to give out from underneath me because the weight of them was so debilitating. At that moment I knew I will never stand up again…and then you started crying because you were hungry. So I stood up and fed you. Just when I was about to collapse again I realized you needed to be changed and then fed again. After a day of feeding, napping, walking, talking, tummy time, and cuddles I realized that I never had time to fall back down. For a year that is what we did. You needed me and I was there. Our world was small and because of you I was able to keep my feet under me and put one foot in front of the other. We got through that first year and now through the second.

You have grown into such a intelligent and creative young girl who is finds everything interesting and entertaining. Your happiness and curiosity are immeasurable and your stubbornness is impressive. I have looked at everyday things through your eyes and found enjoyment in events and things that I would have never glanced at before.

There are things that I will never tell you and some stories that you do not need to hear. These are mine to carry as your parent. I will try to walk the fine line of what information you need to know to thrive and what I need to protect you from. I am sure that I will fall off this line many times but I will try my hardest to help you as you have helped me.

We are very lucky my smart and beautiful child. There are so many people who support us; neighbors, friends, family, and friends who have become like family. All of these people love you. I love you and your daddy loves you. He is not here anymore but he still loves you and watches over you every day. I will be there while you learn about the events and your mind is able to expand around the understanding of what happened. I will hold your hand as we walk down this road. I will carry whenever you ask.

You loving mother,

Anne