Wednesday, January 28, 2009

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!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, and so true! My girls also are crazy about reading for just the reasons you wrote about. :)


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