Monday, September 21, 2009

A Guest Post: Connecting the Dots

As a little girl, I don’t remember ever wanting to sit down and read a book. What I do fondly remember is watching my mother curl up on the couch with a juicy red tomato reading one of her favorite, worn out paperback novels. I also remember listening to my mother read bedtime stories to my little brothers night after night. My mother always modeled a passion for reading that I desired to have. However, for me reading was like a juicy ripe tomato- it looked delicious but each time I took a bite, it tasted bitter.

Over the years, my mother gave me a respect for reading but it wasn’t until my first teaching experience that I found a love for reading. As an early childhood educator, I began reading books to my students by authors such as Eric Carle, Denise Flemming, Jan Brett, Tomie dePaola, Shel Silverstein, Ezra Jack Keats, and Robert Munsch. This experience took the “bitter” out of reading for me.

As I selected books to read aloud to my students, my mind would twirl with ideas of other activities I could do with my students. For example, if I read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Eric Carle to my students we would then turn our entire environment into a world of bears and other colorful animals. My imagination was sparked and my students and I enjoyed entire classroom experiences based on the story told in one simple book. That book soon would become a favorite and we would read it many times over.

The dots were starting to be connected and I soon found my own love for reading. I now have my own stack of worn out novels sitting by the couch – only I eat apples. My mother’s positive role modeling left me with a desire to read and by creating experiences from the books read to my students, I began to find personal joy in reading.

As a parent, you can greatly influence your child’s love for reading.

* Role model positive reading habits. Let your child see you enjoy reading whether it is the Sunday paper at the breakfast table or a novel on the living room couch. Children need to see reading as a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable experience.
* When reading to your preschooler, choose books that he or she can relate to and that will spark ideas and imagination.
* When finished reading, bring the story to life. If the characters in the book bake cookies, try baking cookies just like they did in the book. Make reading a meaningful experience that goes beyond the pages of the book.

Help your child to connect the dots and develop a life-long love for reading. Thanks for allowing me to share my memories with you.

Deborah J. Stewart

Promoting excellence in preschool!


melaniet42 said...

I love "Brown Bear, Brown Bear"! It's one of my favorites that I check out of the library for my toddler and it's on our "add to the home library" list. We go to the library every week to check out new books. My daughter even sleeps with some of her books!

mmosiman said...

Great suggestions on promoting reading in children. I would also add that it is important that parents read a variety of fiction and nonficion to their preschoolers. Parents will often neglect the nonfiction b/c they feel their preschoolers might not be interested but these types of books improve a child's general knowledge in the areas of science and history.

Renee, author of

Tara Rison said...

Melanie ~ We, too, love Brown Bear! Between the three of my children, I think I have read that book a zillion times. We have a very well-loved copy to prove it.

mmosiman, I agree. Non-fiction does get overlooked. However, there are a lot of great non-fiction children's books available. One of my favorite writers of these books is Aliki.