I think we can say that "zoo" is the first word that Elizabeth has read. And by that I mean, she successfully sounded out a word that we hadn't previously pointed out to her.
She's been good with logos since almost as soon as she could talk. She recognizes Wal-mart, Target, Subway, McDonald's, Burger King and many other signs no matter whether they're on a building or on paper. In fact, Wal-mart was the first word she could spell (W-A-L-star-M-A-R-T), and since she knew all her alphabet letters on sight and out of context by 20 months, she's known that letters go into words for quite a while. She also loves books, loves to be read to, and loves to "read" them to herself. She has a really good memory so she can do a convincing display of "reading". But its all been memorization and, in my opinion, parroting back what we tell her until now. Even the words she can spell, mama, cat, Subway, etc, etc, really seem to be a product of her memory, and not a product of any great understanding of how reading works. We've told her how to spell them, and she remembers the order of the letters. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she has not shown much interest up until very recently into the mechanics of the process.
I have no idea if it had anything to do with the fact that today she was really (and I mean REALLY) into Super Why! today, and they, after all, have the power to read, but I was (belatedly) putting my mom's Mother's Day card from the girls into its envelope (What can I say, it was a really busy weekend and I'm behind) and Elizabeth asked me to read it to her. It's a glittery thing comparing a grandma to all kinds of good things, and one of them is a "peppermint zoo". No, I have no idea why a peppermint zoo is a good thing, but I'm going with it. But ANYWAY, there is a picture of the walkway (covered in peppermints) up to a gate and the archway over it says "ZOO". Elizabeth said "What does that say?" Instead of just telling her like normal, I said "What do you think it says? Sound it out." And she looked at it, put her finger on the Z and said "zzzzzzzzzzzooooooooooooooooooo.....ZOO!"
It was a proud moment. And I'm long-winded when I'm proud.