Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 22 - A Good Read

Nate drew this picture for J.J the owner of Ebenezers.
One of our favorite places in town!
                So I made the mistake the other night of peaking inside the mystery novel that was sitting on Jeff’s night stand.  Hmmm…. I love mysteries, and I here I sit, typing. It’s calling my name on the arm of the couch.  Who killed the redheaded stranger?  Could it have possibly had something to do with the missing piece of pie?  I guess I’ll have to wait to find out.    This is not a great time in the semester for me to be starting any non-classwork reading. 

                In our house we all love reading.  Books capture our imaginations and allow our minds to play.  Nate has been devouring books as an early reader and in reality is probably a better reader as a kindergartener than I was as a third grader.  Jeff was an early reader too and his parents were warned by his second grade teacher that perhaps they should help him choose his reading materials as not all articles in the Reader’s Digest were appropriate for young children.  Elli shows strong signs of reading as well. 

It excites me that Nate and Elli are doing so well in the reading department.  I stayed back after my first year of third grade specifically because of my low reading abilities.  While I struggled with reading, it was not for lack of having parents who are avid readers or a neglect of reading to me.  They read to me a lot.  Between those two years of third grade my parents had me work with a local tutor and I entered my second year of third grade as an avid reader not afraid to tackle anything.  My favorite reads as a child primarily were mysteries; the Happy Holisters, Hardy Boys, Trixie Beldon, Mandy, and Nancy Drew regularly captivated my attention.  I’d then incorporate these stories into my own fantasy play solving mysteries and running from bad guys. 

I was recently doing some reading as part of my classwork related to children’s acquisition of reading skills (Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff, 2003).  Parents can really give their children a leg up by making reading an everyday event.  Regular reading helped children learn to read far above anything else.  Children of parents who read to them regularly were much stronger readers than those who didn’t.  Why is reading so important?  The authors suggested that reading increases a child’s vocabulary.  Children with larger vocabularies find it easier to learn to read.  The skill of storytelling piggybacked on top of regular reading promotes early literacy even more.  Storytelling allows the listener to understand something without the contextual cues that we have in normal conversations.  When you think about this, books often include details that are not in a child’s everyday experiences, being able to decode these are vital.  Reading is a lifelong passion, which presents new possibilities for our minds to play with.  I’m pretty excited that we get to be a part of our children’s reading journeys in such a concrete way!

Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.M., & Eyer, D. (2003) Einstein never used flash cards. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Inc.

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