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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hailey the Reader

Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms. 
- Angela Carter

So, I've been reading this book...it's pretty cool and has given me lots of ideas on what to cram into our already overcrowded house.  Mind you, I'm no homeschooler (not that there's anything wrong with that...says the public school teacher), but I do want my children, the Crazies, to have rich intellectual opportunities throughout their lives.  That starts as early as infancy, in my opinion.

Anyway, this book has started me thinking about letter writing stations, reading corners, and science experiments that we could do together.  Can you believe it?  The middle school math teacher...interested in reading and writing??  The very thought...

I'm not one of those people who believes in inundating babies with foreign language flash cards or even that Babies can Read (isn't that a program?).  I believe that experiencing things will teach them more than flash cards or videos.  That does not mean that I don't pop on the television if I need to make dinner.  Life is life...it goes on and needs to be balanced.

So, as I watch the Crazies grow...as I often do...I've been noticing some changes.
Pretend play is becoming such a huge part of everyday life.  Matt has created incredible "construction sites" with all of his vehicles lined up and ready to go.  He plays a great foreman and tells everyone where to go.  He hauls beads, shells, garbage, colorful leaves from outside, and anything else he can find.  Hailey's babies get kissed good-night at nap time and are tucked in warm every evening.

The other thing that I've noticed is an increase in meaningful reading.  Not to say reading before this wasn't meaningful, but it was more us reading to them.  What we've started to see is them reading to themselves...independently.  Or, in Hailey's case, her reading to us.
They are making up stories, using what they remember, using their own experiences, using the pictures...whatever they can...to tell a story.

One of Hailey's frequent questions is, "can I read you dis story?"

Our answer is always "I'd love it."

She then flips her book around so we can see the pages and uses her finger to follow along with the words.  She's doing what we do.  She's doing what her teachers do.  She's doing what she should do.

Then her stories are the most adorable things you've ever heard.  She mixes stories, talks about things that aren't even in that particular story, remembers parts of movies and includes them, or just says the same thing page after page.

Here are some cute pictures I snapped the other day.  She was so happy to show me her story and to tell me what was going on in her "favorite book."

What?  You want me to read you dis story?

Okay...we gonna start wight here, okay?

See dis?  See dis picture?  Dis boy is goin for a walk...his Mama told him not to stop.

Dis my favorite book...you yike dat story?

She is having such a good time and I'm so glad she loves reading.  It's little moments like this...where she's sitting in her new apple dress (before getting strawberries all over the front), with her skinned knees, on her Princess chair, reading her favorite book...these are the moments that make it all worth it.