When the Lone Star Girl was in kindergarten, her teacher liked to talk a lot about "environmental reading". She meant stuff like recognizing the logo of certain golden-arched colonialist establishments and things of that nature when out and about. She was disturbed that the Montessori-preschooled LSG's immediate label for a letter was its sound rather than it's name (but she can read, I'd say). I was a little underwhelmed by the teacher's enthusiasm for "environmental reading" as the Lone Star Girl entered kindergarten reading at around second-grade level and left kindergarten reading at "right where she should be for the end of kindergarten". I mean, that's a fine place to be at the end of kindergarten, of course - right where you should be - but not if you went backwards to get there. Fortunately, by the end of first grade, she had discovered those saccharine Magic Treehouse books and she was hooked on reading again.
I am seeing a whole different kind of "environmental reading" with the Lone Star Baby and I love this kind. Suddenly, over the past few weeks, she has started reading everything she sees around her - signs, labels, every piece of writing in her path. She read "a world of opportunity" on a sign at the credit union the other day. She took the (Spanish!) storybook her teacher was reading and finished reading it for the class on another day last week when her teacher had to take care of something. I see her little finger tracing words and hear her voice sounding them out everywhere we are. It's so exciting!