For the past two years, Tommy's reading has been at about the same level. He could sound out words (very short ones in the beginning, then longer ones as time went on), and he could even string them together to read a short sentence. But the process was drudgery and he didn't like to do it for longer than five minutes at a time.
But something clicked with him in the past month. Now reading is more fluent and almost effortless for him. Just after Christmas he became interested in reading his Bob books, and he breezed through three sets of them. Now he's working through easy readers from the library and mastering them quickly.
I've always heard that one shouldn't push a child to learn to read. I'm glad I didn't push Tommy even though he seemed interested in reading. It really is true that they'll pick up reading quickly when they're ready for it. Watching him zip through books and improve so rapidly has been like seeing a miracle take place before my eyes.