My daughter Natalie is learning to read. It’s not easy yet.

She loves being read to: we stack up a pile of our favorites and snuggle on the couch with her two sisters or find a quiet corner of the library. There are some classics that even my almost three year old can “read.” And Natalie does that too: last night at bedtime, she read Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

But during our school day, Natalie is learning phonics; letter by letter, sound by sound, she is beginning to decode sentences, complete books even. But it’s not easy yet.

I can’t remember the magical moment when my oldest daughter started reading fluently, but I see the results every day. She picks up a novel at every chance. She reads in the car, in bed at night, first thing in the morning. She often finishes a book before we even get in the door from the library. Sometimes when she has a playdate, I have to gently encourage her to set her book aside to give her friend attention.

Cami’s love of reading inspires me when I get discouraged with Natalie’s reading lessons. It is only a matter of time, I know, until Natalie crosses over from this stage of learning to read and into a lifetime of reading to learn.

Until then, I have to push through. When she whines that it’s too hard, I patiently help her sound out the words. I look for books that I know she will enjoy, including some that I know she can read easily, to give her confidence. I write out her lessons with Sharpies in a rainbow of colors — the colors she chooses — and let her put a sticker at the end of each sentence she reads.

Sometimes pushing through the challenges of life requires a little extra patience and some creativity. Mostly, it just requires a commitment to do what you need to do, every day. Eventually, whatever you’re doing will start to get easier. Then, you can enjoy the results, and the hard work you took to get there will be a distant memory.

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.