Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Reading words vs. reading stories
Yesterday I listened as Jonathan "read" a book to Thomas, and was amazed to hear him copy our reading inflection as he talked. Obviously he wasn't really reading - he was making it up as he went along - but it made sense with the pictures and it sounded like a story.
It brought home once again how very important it is to read to our kids, because that is how they learn what stories ought to sound like. When I was in college I tutored three siblings with very busy parents (the kids didn't need tutoring; they needed a babysitter who could help with homework.) I'm quite sure that the parents never read a book with their kids, because the children read in a painful, jerky monotone without any expression, and certainly without any enjoyment. I'm not even sure that they knew they were reading a story - they were just words on a page, read because I required it. Back then I was pretty sure that reading TO them was the only way to help them get better, and that is what I did. I hope that it helped, although I wasn't with them long enough to see much result. Now, reading to my own kids, I am seeing the results and it is simply amazing.
Words on a page are just words without the learned knowledge of how to read them. It is so exciting to hear Jonathan learning how.