Fast Forward about 11 months... last month his teachers told me he could read words. At the time, Sidekick could say about 20 words, but apparently, he could read a word and sign, point, make a movement, etc. letting his teachers know what the word is. Yesterday, his teachers showed me because they were so excited. I about toppled over that my 18 month old son was actually reading words. The former teacher in me immediately wanted to make flash cards to try at home to see if he really could read. The video below is what he did tonight with the flash cards for the first time with me (unfortunately the video was too long to email to myself to put the entire clip here, but you get the point). To clarify... I typed large words (no pictures) on white paper and went through each of the 15 or so words. I am truly amazed that he can read words he's learned at school! (By the way, the last one before the video was cut off was "tongue", and he showed it to me while pineapple fell out of his mouth-- haha!)
Sidekick has always had a love of books, and he can "read" for very long periods of time by himself and will let me read to him for as long as I am willing to do. I don't know how many words he should be saying at 18 months (I guess I'll ask his pediatrician next week), but I'm thinking he's on track with 40, so I certainly don't think this type of reading is hindering his learning. I'm pretty sure what he is reading is memorization, but even that blows me away. I certainly don't think that I have a prodigy on my hands, but I am impressed that he can read words, even if it is just rote words. Each time I was finished the flash cards, he said "more", so he is obviously having fun reading words, and that's what being a kid is all about!