I hope everyone enjoyed their vacation! I was able to spend some time with my family and visited the San Diego Zoo. A highlight of the trip was seeing the joy and wonder in my daughter’s face as she held a saber-tooth tiger’s skull and hearing her asking the keeper a lot of questions. It is times like this that I take great delight in being a parent. Opportunities like these are chances to “strike while the iron is hot.” I can immediately follow this with more research on line or a trip to the library. When children’s curiosity level hits critical velocity this is a chance to READ, READ, READ!
My two year old daughter will not go asleep unless we read her books every night. She is at the point where she now has her favorites; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Boston, The Hungry Caterpillar. She is at that the point where she wants to read many of her favorite books several times. At this point I have memorized many of these books and sometimes think, "How can I read this book again?" However, now I start the sentence and she finishes the ending. This is an early sign of literacy it is not reading but, it is what sets the foundation for later reading. After my two year old has fallen asleep, it is time for literacy with my kindergartener. We take out her books which we got from the town library (children love to have their own library card) and begin our reading time. The books I have selected for her I have gotten slightly below her reading level. I have done this because I want to increase her fluency (speed at which she reads or when reading sounds like she talks). After she has mastered a book, she writes it down on a list to take pride in all the books she has read. I will have her go back and reread some of the books which is a tremendous way to increase fluency. After she has read to me, it is time for me to read to her. It is now time to read aloud a picture book where I can ask question, model good reading expression and enunciation, and expand her vocabulary.
I know when my children get into the higher elementary grades I will expand upon this and maybe read a chapter of one of their books or listen to them read a chapter and engage in rich conversation. My wife and I will sometimes share these roles or she will have to take upon it herself sometimes for a whole week; the life of a principle’s wife. However, we don’t do this exercise because we both are educators; we do this because both our parents did it with us. Also, we know we are the biggest stakeholders in our children’s future success. Although I am not thinking of either child taking the MCAS when I read with my children at night, I know what I am doing is building capital for when they take not only MCAS, but SAT’s. Another reason my wife and I enjoy working with our children is we love them and it is the greatest feeling in the world to see your children learn and grow. I want to thank all members of our Pine Glen Community for allowing us the opportunity to see your children learn and grown everyday. I love doing walk throughs and seeing the amazing growth in students. Please don’t deny yourself this opportunity and work on literacy with your children every night.