Hanaa at 4 (yes she is 4 and not even 4 1/2) is reading, and quite fluently! These are not those one-liner books she’s tackling, she is reading paragraphs of text and pages of poetry, Alhamdulillah! She is not reading just the familiar books but any new ones that suit her interest and level. Today she surprised me by reading Urdu material from her book, which was read to her only once recently. We have been working on her Urdu reading from the beginning and now she is showing the results Alhamdulillah. She recognises Arabic letters well and is working with vocabulary, flash cards etc. I’m sure that she has mental images of many words by now and I hope that she’ll start some basic reading soon in sha Allah.
She was able to recognize words and make her own spellings much earlier… when she was still 3. But, it was more than a month ago that she started reading bigger texts… and I was not sure whether she was reading from memory or ACTUALLY reading….. until she started reading my text messages and chats 😀
She loves to write and draw and make her stories and ‘books’. Although much of her spelling won’t win any contests still, but she is rarely corrected. And she is dictated spellings only when she asks for it. She also tends to write backwards and can write whole sentences and whole ‘books
How have we supported Hanaa’s learning expedition 🙂
- We’ve read to her a lot, both I and her elder sisters.
- She played freely with alphabet blocks, puzzles, magnetic ones.
- We pointed out letters for her on every day materials like sign-boards, product labels etc. (and now she loves to read all labels and boards)
- She was exposed to Phonics early on, using both workbooks and (limited) computer games.
- Finally, ‘Sight Word Recognition’ or ‘Look and Say’ gave her the final push, though she was never formally ‘taught’ or ‘instructed’ to ‘read’.
- She was never criticised for writing backwards all letters and whole ‘books’.
- We listened intently to her ‘stories’ and gave unconditional appreciation and encouragement. Even her elder siblings were not allowed to point out her errors.
- She has asked a million questions and has mostly been answered promptly and to her satisfaction.
I remember when she was 3 she used to ask scientific questions like ‘why is it dark at night’ and ‘why do we put on heaters in winter’, ‘why does the tea with milk comes up when boiling’ etc and we tried to explain things at her level of understanding.
She has taken keen interest Alhamdulillah in the world around her and the Creator. Her connection with Allah (swt) and the Hereafter is such that a while ago she insisted on knowing ‘when are we going to die?’ because she ‘couldn’t wait to go to Jannah’. She persisted that ‘are we going to die after 15 days?’ because ‘it is so nice to die’ and 15 days was the maximum timeline in her mind! Alhamdulillah I was pleased to see the ‘hubbul maut’ instilled in her and may she increase in her love for the Hereafter and resentment towards Dunya, leading us to the same. Aameen.
Ever since she has recognised the importance of Hadith and Sunnah, she never fails to quote one that she knows (yes she knows a handful from her coloring books and the ‘I love Islam’ book that she adores). She would ask why we do such and such and on getting the reason that it is ‘Sunnah’, she tries to remember and implement it always. She has been exposed to much of Quranic recitations as she likes to identify the ‘madds’ and the ‘rukus’ to her sisters when they’re reciting and she is sitting with us looking at the Mushaf.
She loves to read her Dua at night and Kalimah that she repeats 4-5 times because ‘Allah Taa’la likes this and there are so many good points for it’ .
As a person, Hanaa is my most ‘proper’ and organised child. She likes to keep her things at their places, her desk neat, her clothes tidy and her toys organised. She has not been very social but now she is visibly getting comfortable with children, even those who she thinks ‘don’t have very good manners’ . With her few close friends she loves to play for long, specially with her ‘JARC’ and accessories which is actually a big hit among all our friends. She can be a little bossy at times but that is part of her ‘proper’ nature.
She has always taken keen interest in kitchen and learnt the process of making tea at 2. She was a serious (yes proper!) dish-washer at age 4 when we had no helper available for a few months… you could actually rely on her 😀
She has been very picky about clothes and shoes since ever. You can simply not force her to wear anything that she doesn’t like. She has the sweetest habit of ‘making excuses’ to avoid doing things she dislikes. She rarely ever refuses blankly, but would make a nice sweet excuse, trying not to hurt you but at the same time making clear that she’s not going to change her mind.
Hanaa has been the sweetheart of our family and will always be in sha Allah. May Allah keep her in His mercy in this world and the next and join us all together in Jannah. Thank you Allah for giving us this wonderful child!