Friday, June 22, 2007


While I was choosing books at the public library to take to the beach I overheard the happy squeals of a child with new books. I turned around to see a little blonde headed three/four year old toddling over to the adult book section with a large stack of 5 board books. "Mummy!" he exclaimed in his British accent. "I found books! Too many!" The pure happiness radiated off his face. He plopped himself down in the middle of the floor, pulled up one book and immediately began turning the pages and looking at the pictures. "Mummy!" he announced again, "how will I ever read ALL THESE BOOKS?" Mum, clearly engaged in choosing her own literature, smiled and nodded, but then promised that they'd get through them all.

I watched the boy and was jealous that at the age of 3 he could score so high on the concepts of print test. Before opening the book he knew to turn the book to the front. He knew which was the top of the page and which was the bottom, and he knew that to read books we turn pages from the front to the back. The way his eyes tracked the page it seemed he even knew we read left to right.

What a great mom. From just watching a kid's excitement over new library books you can immediately tell what kind of a great reading-parent raises him. She takes him to the library; he sees her enjoying books and reading herself. She reads to him enough for him to know how books work. She's given him so much already. I wanted to stop this woman and tell her how incredible this was. So many of the kids in my class wouldn't score as high on the concepts of print test as this little one did. It doesn't reflect their intelligence, or their learning potential. It only reflects their past educational opportunities and their exposure to books.

it's easy to take reading parents for granted. I was raised in a 'book-friendly' house where reading was up there with family and God. My parents were lucky to have been raised in book-houses themselves, and were lucky to have the time and education to know to read-aloud to their kids.

I want to be able to give that book-childhood to every child. Other than being a bed-time reading fairy and visiting every house every night before bed, are there any other options?

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