Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reading to baby

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Learning to read

"So, how do you teach them to read?"

"I don't."

But read they do, non-stop, voraciously, every genre, every media that we allow in the house, to the point of being reprimanded for reading, darn it, put that book away at the table! Turn out the light and quit reading! Just like Mommy.

That's one of the keys; children will imitate the behavior they see modeled. (I wonder where that leaves me with the way they fight, insult and clobber each other half of their waking lives as well?)

The other one, and I did not invent this, Jim Trelease observed it first, is READ TO CHILDREN. Establishing the pleasure connection to the activity of reading is the first and best thing an adult can do to form a life-long love of reading in a child. Once something is established as fun, who doesn't want to return to it again and again. So, read fun books, read informative books, read anything your child is interested in. Read to them what you loved as a child. Read "The Read Aloud Handbook," by Jim Trelease if you are not convinced.

Fill your home with reading material and use it. Leave things you would like kids to read in places you know they like to sit, as though really it was just your own reading material.

I love the Waldorf approach to reading; one letter at a time, with stories and drawings for each letter. It is a beautiful approach, an artistic one, guaranteed to capture a child's imagination. This is Waldorf first grade, around the age of 61/2 or 7. However, it all starts way before then, it begins in infancy, with reading to your baby, then your toddler.

It ideally begins before life begins, with the parents being readers. So, if you are expecting or thinking about starting a family or a grandparent wanting to make a difference in a child's life, become a reader yourself. It will be a gift to yourself, to society and to this child.

More tomorrow!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunrise; for sale

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Sailing, sailing...

Yes, it is January in Iowa, and it is so cold that apparently the temperature is not registering on the weather bureau's thermometer; it says "N/A". (OK, so I went to check our outdoor thermometer, the floor boards squeaked from the cold with each step. My thermometer says -29, but I'll bet the wind chill is close to yesterday's -56.)

And we are dreaming of sailing. Sunshine, blue water and wind in our sails... We are planning next summer's trip to the Apostle Islands for a series of classes and some family cruising time. The kids are worked up about everything from bringing the cockatiel along to taking showers on a boat to swimming in Lake Superior.

Only one thing stands in our way of this being a perfect plan; the good Captain Thom Burns of the Northern Breezes Sailing School can only allow six people on board a lesson boat, and there are seven of us! I tried to convince him that mine were so small maybe we could count a couple of them as just deal. He is working hard with us to come up with creative solutions, what a patient man! As of now, I am searching for another family to share the sail, or the school in this case. That way we could take out two boats and not leave baby at Grama's, as per one of the captain's suggestions. The accompanying family may have up to five family members, no more, but less is acceptable. What a quandary. All interested please apply here.

I must also announce that the sailboat messing up my clean suburban lawn look, parked in the front yard, is most definitely for sale. We have outgrown the Catalina 22 with its capacity for sleeping 4-5, and will be chartering larger boats in the future. Someday maybe even in warmer waters!

So, much food for thought today. If you are interested in putting an option on the boat, let me know. It will need to wait a week or two for delivery, as it is frozen solid to the grass in front of the house, but we can make you a great deal!

If you are thinking of sailing lessons this summer, let me know too. Doesn't that sound like a fun way to spend 3 or 4 days?

Bon vent!