Children’s books are not just for reading…

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We often forget the library is one of the greatest places to explore and learn for a child. A library is full of adventures! Each story contains a new one. Even before a child reads this is important. Children’s imaginations soar as they look at the beautiful colors and artistic creations on each page of a book. Mine often create and make up their own stories. This is the basis of reading and language. I never pushed or focused on the words until developmentally reading became important. My children love to go, and have the same excitement as going to the toy store, every time. For the last 8 years (yes, as soon as my oldest turned 1) I’ve tried to take my children once a week. We leave with a bag full of books. Each one of my children flipped through the pages and immersed themselves in the images before they could read. Reading isn’t the only purpose of a story, or the story itself. Now my 9 year old leaves with a stack of her own Chapter books, and reads at least an hour every night before bed. It is one of my greatest successes as a mother. Every night I read one story to each child (of course we miss nights, and now this time has become “chat” time with my oldest instead) but it has become a transition to dreamland which studies are finding aid in proper sleep and development… The library is a place of wonder and mystery, held in the page of every book. Give that gift to your children. “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ― Frederick Douglass

There is so much more to learning that just completing a task…

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My 3 year old started this puzzle activity (after watching his older sisters breeze through it) saying, “Mommy that’s too hard for me”. I told him I would help. I didn’t expect him to match words or even search through all the pieces to find 3 or 4 out of 100 to put together. It would have overwhelmed him. I started by putting 3 pieces that matched (mixed up) in front of him (not making it obvious I was). It took him a while to fit the three together but halfway through he gained confidence and practice. By the end (about 30 minutes later) I stopped putting three in front of him. He figured out there were concepts/images and parts he recognized out of the whole he was to complete. He was so proud when he finished, and by the end didn’t need any help. Learning is so much more than being able to complete a task; it is planning, figuring, practicing, building, creating, anticipating, trying and more…

Can you see what the 7 year old saw?

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My seven year old stopped me mid sentence reading the classic Wizard of Oz (sentence 2) and said, “But Mommy that doesn’t make any sense, the Tin Man doesn’t have any straw”? I had to read it three times! Be honest, you did too. It can read two ways. 🙂 Common noun or proper noun?

Reading empowers children to self learn…

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Reading has always been a staple in each of my children’s day. Sometimes I don’t feel like reading a book before nap or bedtime, when I ‘m the most exhausted and feel I need alone time, but I always do. It has become habit. It gives me one on one time with each child, even if only 10 minutes each day. It also has become part of our routine and each of them looks forward to cuddle time with Mommy and expects it (I still read to my 7 year old every day). Forget the benefits we all know about reading… My 7 year old started reading at age 4, and is reading at a 5th grade level in 1st grade. And, I never taught her how. My 5 year is now beginning to, and isn’t starting Kindergarten for 7 more months. But that is not why I do this. Each child has their own learning path and to me reading isn’t just about words. My children have learned to love learning, exploring pictures and books, and love the library. I feel I have empowered them to self learn. At first I ridiculously bought a ton of books but now I try to take them once a week to the library (they get as excited as going to the toy store). Even though only one can actually read, they spend hours finding books, looking at pictures, and flipping pages. All I can do as a mother is lead and give them the tools, and this I am the most proud of.