I've been telling my kids since I felt they could comprehend it, "If you can read, you can do anything". It's true. Think about it. Back during slavery, they wouldn't allow the slaves to have access to books or learn to read for fear they would become educated. It was a way of keeping control. So I explain to them, "if you can read, you can do anything".
Well they are six now and while we've been working hard with them, reading to them forever as well as working with them on spelling, sounding out words, etc, you can't push it. If you push it, they can become frustrated and shut down. Then they'll see it as more of a chore and not learn to enjoy reading. As a parent or as anyone who is teaching someone something, you really have to walk that fine line of knowing when to push someone and when to back off.
Well, it turns out that Mitch can read. We'd be walking in a store and he would just point to a sign and read it. Or we'd be at the kitchen table and he would point to a magazine and read a few words. Turns out, that while at parent teacher conferences a little ways back, his teacher gave us a list of words each Kindergartner should know by the end of the school year. He knows them all. I'm not saying he's reading novels or anything, but this is a child who hasn't exactly done things on what we would call the "normal" timetable. He never crawled. He didn't walk until he was 19 months old. He was about 6 before being fully potty-trained. Granted the kid has had it a little rough, so we were thinking more often than not he would do whatever it was at his own pace. Well, I'm glad if something was relatively accelerated, it was this.
And he's excited about it too. A new book from school every week and he's excited to read it at night. We get them both new books all the time and they make it part of their routine before going to sleep to make sure we read at least 1 book. And, now that Mitch is doing well reading and how much praise he's getting, Max is starting to step up his game.
So hopefully, perhaps by the end of the calendar year they'll be reading books to us instead of the other way around. And once that happens, it's a whole new world.
Update: I wrote this awhile ago and never posted it. Since then, Max is definitely better at reading, but just shy about reading out loud. Mitch however will read out loud to himself or to anyone. He'll read anything including magazines, shopping circulars, it doesn't matter. He actually calms down at night but taking out his flashlight and reading a book to himself, out loud before going to bed. I couldn't be more proud.