When Dillsburg resident Tiffany Dickerson began planning her daughter Sydney’s second birthday party, she decided on a theme that reflected one of Sydney’s favorite things: books.
The invitations were books “written” by Sydney. Party attendees made bookmarks and did activities based around different books. For instance, after reading “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” they ate Goldfish Crackers and cupcakes decorated with open books.
When the book club birthday party was such a success, a seed was planted.
“I set on a mission,” the 31-year-old stay-at-home mom said. “‘I said, maybe she could learn to read by 3.’”
As early as 14 or 15 months, Dickerson said she’d noticed that Sydney was able to recognize letters. So she challenged her — working on identifying letters and counting. They had a set of flashcards with words and pictures on them, and Dickerson started covering up the pictures on the cards, trying to get Sydney to recognize the words.
She created a book called “Sydney’s Word Book” and filled it with words the toddler had learned, many of which were things she was already interested in — like “Elmo,” “princess” and “Dora.” As more words were added to the book, Sydney learned to read whole sentences ahead of her third birthday. Today, the 4-year-old can read level one books and can write in both uppercase and lowercase.
Dickerson thought that if her child could learn to read so young, then other children should have the same opportunity. In August, Sydney’s Book Club was born.