Watching my daughter learn to read has been both fascinating and mysterious. Especially since, at least to me, she is doing so in a rather non-linear fashion. Bored by most beginning readers, perhaps feeling that picture books were babyish, and entranced by the Ramona series as I've written about here, she announced that she was going to read chapter books before she read "regular" (that is, picture) books (interesting, too, that she still considers picture books the norm). While she has not quite achieved that goal yet, she is closer every day, sometimes reading whole paragraphs of the Ramona books at a time.
I know that there are two parts to reading - comprehension and decoding. My daughter's ability to comprehend what she is reading (both the plot and individual words - she is quite good at gleaning the meaning of new words from context) definitely exceeds her decoding ability. But it is her decoding ability - and inability - that I find most intriguing. She can sight-read more difficult words such as thought and library, while still having to sounding out simple words like park. A friend says one day she will just "crack the code." Has that been your experience or was it a more gradual process?
This post was inspired by the I Can Read Celebration currently being hosted by Playing by the Book and her post about putting yourself in the shoes of a child learning to read.