Saturday, October 10, 2009

Our friend, Ryan, recommended a great book called The Read Aloud Handbook that gave us a lot of motivation to read more with Maggie. We had already been incorporating books, here and there, but it was great to get a little guidance on the types of books that are best for her, now, and which books we may want to set aside for later. So, at the moment we've been reading lots of books with rhythmic and rhyming language and throwing in some other oddballs to break it up (like identification books and those with small story lines). I loved the explanation for incorporating lots of rhythm and rhyme... as the author of the handbook puts it, language is so new and complex to her. These books bring sense and order to what must be a very complicated world. Not to mention the joy and pleasure they bring to hearing spoken words.

Something that I grapple with in the handbook is that the motivation the author uses to get parents reading is to give lots of data and real-life examples of children who have excelled in school, thanks to reading at a young age. The types of examples are not just "A" students, but kids who skip multiple grades, win national spelling bees, and have to leave regular schooling because they are just too advanced to stay stimulated.

Reading this has made me think a lot about what I want for Maggie and the expectations that I want to have as she grows older. I think what I've decided is that all I really want (in regards to schooling) is for Maggie to love learning. Whether she's in the lowest groups or highest groups, I just want her to be happy with where she is and who she is. If she has confidence to ask questions, the thoughtfulness to offer ideas, and a big smile on her face when she steps off the bus... then I'll know we've accomplished something great, regardless of the letters on her report card.


  1. I think those are great expectations! When I was little my mom would let us stay up as late as we wanted under one condition: we were in bed and reading a book. I think it was my biggest motivation for reading at first. (of course, this advice is years away). Anyway, i love sandra boyton books! :)

  2. You have come to a realization that all parents should!! I feel the same way for my little ones - I don't care if they aren't in the highest group or the best at things - I just want them to continue to love learning and school. When I taught I can't tell you how many psycho parents I had and you could see how it affected the kids. And Sandra B is a favorite over here - esp Moo Baa La La La!!