When learning any new skill, there is a moment when you realise that you have mastered the basics and you can do whatever it is that you have been struggling to learn, whether it is driving, skiing or in the case of Rowena, my 8 year old daughter, reading, practically without thinking about it. In the latter case it is the moment when you can't look at words without actively reading them.
My 12 year old son, Robbie, had what I call that lightbulb moment at the age of six and a half and has since been a voracious reader of almost all types of fiction and nonfiction (excluding romance, for some strange reason). When Rowena, at that same age, showed no inclination to read herself or even be able to sound out simple words, I stood back and waited. Every now and then I've got her to sound out words (I've always regretted it - it was like trying to get blood out of a stone). Up till now, she would alway ask me or someone else to read things to her. Suddenly though, she's like a flower that has sprung open. It is as though there is some inner force compelling to read every word that strays into her path, no matter how long it is and what language it is in (she is reading English and German).