I started out this post by writing about how important it is to talk, sing, and read to your baby, about the research that supports these activities, and the research about screen time. But I felt like I was lecturing. I would rather just talk about my own experience. There are a lot of books to consult, such as Growing a Reader from Birth and Bright from the Start. We just received Mem Fox's Reading Magic . Fox includes her Ten Read-Aloud Commandments. They are all wonderful but my favorite are the first three:
1. Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.
2. Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read.
3. Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and donít be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.
Read with enthusiasm and love and the path to literacy will begin in the most positive way. I remember catching myself--and I still do--when I was trying to race through a book as she was fussing. Then I remembered the whole point of doing this was for her, not me! And if she wasn't enjoying it, I should just stop and move on to what she needed.
When my daughter was very young, I could read long books to her: Black Beauty, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. These were books my mom read to me when I was young, that I read with my siblings. I was aching to read them to her! She slept so much and was a captive audience. She couldn't move or reach, spindle, mutilate or chew on the book. She didn't yet delight in tearing pages. She could only listen to my voice and words. As a newborn her eyesight wasn't developed enough to even see the pictures. I tried to get her the board books with baby faces and black and white illustrations, but selfishly I preferred to read out loud in our comfy chair, to settle in, rather than turning the pages of a very short book to a baby who didn't evince any interest.
Now that she is ten months old I give her a board book to handle and chew on as I am reading to her. I was frustrated when I was reading to her that she would grab for the book, try to destroy it, even though I knew this was a good thing developmentally. She has an attention span now. She won't sit for chapter after chapter like she did in her baby monkey stage.
But we read three books to her every night.
A long time ago I visited the Enoch Pratt Free Library and attended a program of short 16mm films. I then worked at a library that boasted an impressive collection of 16mm film reels. That collection is unfortunately long gone.
I loved to screen the short children's films at the end of storytime. The kids really got a kick out of watching the projector and watching the film rewind at the end. And how could anyone not love Frog on His Own or Lollipop Opera?
As I was feeling nostalgic and looking up all the books that the Weston Woods films were based on, I came across the Pratt Library's Sights and Sounds Collection. What a treasure! Of course Baltimore--the home of Book Thing, my favorite--has this amazing collection.
If you need something to do on Saturday, September 21, take a trip to Baltimore for a 16mm collaboration with Sight Unseen. They will be presenting experimental shorts from Stan Brakhage and others.
I can't make it but I'm going to take a look at Imagination and Innovation: The Story of Weston Woods which we have in our collection.
With almost all theaters these days switching to digital, this is a rare opportunity.
I'm simultaneously kicking myself for not being in New York this past weekend and saddened that libraries are in a position of selling materials to raise revenue.
The NYPL sold 22,000 records from its Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound to make way for new materials.
They say that they already have a copy of each record they are selling, so I suppose this isn't really that depressing. Here's to hoping that they retain those vinyl records in their archive!
I wish the figure were more Parker Posey-esque and weren't carrying a mug that says "Shhh!" but I'll take what I can get. I'm not one for librarian accouterments or paraphernalia but I am pleased to see this little movie getting some attention, no matter how oblique. I'll give you a hint. The book that she's carrying is Posey's character Mary's misinterpretation of "The Origin of Species."
I saw Party Girl on VHS at my 15th birthday party (!) and my friends hated it and tried to put on Wayne's World instead. Although one of my library school professors was mildly puzzled (and maybe secretly appalled) when I told him, this movie was significant in choosing my career path.
It asserts that reading and organizing and finding information for people, helping them and working hard are all valuable habits and traits. Who wouldn't want to be like Parker Posey? She can do cartwheels at the NYPL, wear four layered shirts at a time, and organize a large vinyl collection in an evening.
I used to crochet a lot. I would watch lots of episodes of the original 90210 and try to keep the yarn away from the kittens. One Christmas I gave my sister a gorgeous turquoise cape I made with some sort of intricate lacy shell stitch. But it was totally impractical and not her style. I put so much work into that thing!
Do you like to crochet or knit? I would like to bring fiber arts to the library! I used to own a yellow Minnie Bow headband by Yokoo. Hope it's still trendalicious! I think it would be a cool beginner's project. This pattern looks good.
While looking for some Yokoo-esque patterns, I found this really lovely video of Yokoo. She says we should be creating "a subworld to protect us" from the harsh realities of the real world and being excellent at something creative is her way of doing that. She really makes you want to go for it, doesn't she? Yokoo handmade 1,852 hats and scarves. What have you done?
I've been thinking of picking up the crochet hook again and making some baby hats from a book I found on the library shelves.
And just for fun, here's an amazing downhill biking video.
If you're still trying to get in some reading before school starts, this list has something for everyone, classics and new selections.
One of the first books on the list, Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," no stranger to controversy, was just challenged again.
When I read the book, I was more struck by the effects of poverty and racism on Junior and his family.
However, it is worth remembering that in this list for children 9-14, not every book may be appropriate for the younger readers.
Every fall when patrons request American Indian books, it can be a challenge to find non stereotyped books. Alexie's books are some of the best.
NPR is doing a series on libraries and today's feature on e-books was intriguing. Libraries as publishers? Might that be the future?
I never went to summer camp. My mom was a teacher and I checked out stacks of books (mostly BSC and SVH, I confess) from Northland Library and read them at the pool. I never felt like I was missing out. And I suppose I read enough quality lit that I wasn't losing my edge.
This article suggests that structured summer activities give wealthier students an advantage and that low income students lose out in the summer when they don't get a chance to participate in educational enrichment opportunities.