Friday, December 31, 2010

Twist Your Noodle...

"In our new knowledge economy, if you haven't learned how to learn, you'll have a hard time."
---Peter Drucker

         So far my kid loves to seriously, she does. If there are toys on the floor and a pile of books, she picks the books. She'll grab one of the books and hand it to me, nodding her head, while quietly and passionately saying, "Yes, yes". We read to her at night and well, frankly anytime she wants. She loves books that have animals, and Seussian sentence structures and princesses...I can't wait until she starts reading the Serendipity books. We watch "Super Why" where you learn that if you have a problem you 'look in a book'. This genius cartoon teaches theme, rhyming patterns, spelling, phonetics and has caused my kidlet to sing, "ABCDEFG" over and over...I know she doesn't know that these are letters, but isn't it a start?
          I don't know how to keep this passion for books going, I don't remember not loving books, nor do I remember ever being told to read, so I don't know how to fan the flames. My mother read to us at night, something from the Bible and then something that we wanted like a chapter from the Laura books, "The Purple Pussycat" (Kim's favorite), "Popcorn" "Sheldon's Lunch" et cetera. On the rare occassion that I got in trouble and was told to go to my room, my mother would say, "No radio, and no reading". For as long as I can remember I have had a book in hand, in brain and/or in head. There was one night, just a couple of weeks ago, that the my whole tiny family was reading. Lila with her books on the floor, Chris with his Nook and me with my book. No television, just books and the occasional grunt of happiness...over books. We do this often.
            The men we have married are readers, sure it's non-fiction, sports books, man magazines or, in the case of my husband, "The Grumpus Under the Stairs"...a book he still wishes he had, by the way...a book that I can't find for sale under $100, but it's still reading. In our different ways, all three of us girls have become avid readers...sure Kim reads boring books like the manual to my car and Marissa reads scary books or VC Andrews, but we are ALL readers.
            Of course, my sisters and I had the same upbringing and, because we grew up in the world's smallest town, we had the same wonderful teachers, all of which did their very best to instill in us a love for reading. One teacher I remember especially, her name is Mrs. Coday, because she had a reading bathtub. It was one of those claw toed tubs that she painted some sort of obnoxious lime green and she had this tub sitting off to the side by the bookshelves. It wasn't attached to water or anything, there was no swimming involved, it was just an empty tub. But, during reading time (if you had been good) you and 2 or perhaps 3, I don't remember exactly, of your classmates got to sit in the tub and read. These times were the best times ever. In 5th grade, I got to be in the 8th grade-level reading class. Even then I understood that splitting kids up by their reading level and challenging them to read, at no matter what level, made them better readers. I understood this because my sister was in her grade-level class and she learned as much and had as much fun with reading as I did.
          We had Book-It goals (free pizza was way cool, Book-It was not tied to our passing our respective grade-level) and SSR, we did not have AR.
          In our own different ways, my sisters and I have figured out that reading is essential to life and understanding. We understand that the power to read and process information is stronger than monetary assets and we do not take this for granted.
          Being a high school teacher has also shown me the pitfalls of people who don't have a love for reading and I have also seen to what lengths students--smarts students--will go to NOT read (I can't even get all of my honors kids to read books in the summer--something I still assume every honors kid should just do by nature)...I do not want my kiddo to be one of these kids.
          How will I be able to make sure that my kiddo has teachers who instill in her a love of reading and how will I make sure that these teachers are more concerned with her learning than they are test scores and AR scores and MAP scores?
          How will I make sure that I teach my tiny person a love of reading without killing, in her, the joy of reading?

Happy Sparkly Halloween

Grandma (Nona) reading to Lila Jane


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