February 3, 2012

Something For Us

   Running a shop for handmade goods, I feel like I'm always making things I love...and then selling them. Always making stuff for someone else. But this week, with thoughts of learning from great literature on my mind, I decided to make something-- one of my custom vintage windows-- for my family:

       Isn't it pretty? I wanted the words to look sort-of typographic, but also like they were cut from pages of  a very big book. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It's on our nature table now, but I envision it in our library in the Someday House.

       And now something for you: A thought on learning through literature in your family:

Reading is not an antidote for thwarting social illness. It is not a tool with which to conquer space. It is not a thing we do to children. A child needs to be plunged into the world of literature in order to experience sound, emotion, and self. There is a certain urgency in young parents cuddling their children in the first year of life and sharing with them the cadence of Mother Goose rhymes, the rhythm of simple poetry, and the vigor of prose. To what end? Surely not to give them instruction.
It is true that the experience of hearing good literature, of seeing one’s parents read, of participating in family-in-the-round creative dramatic activities based on “Henny-Penny” or “Jack Be Nimble” will go a long way toward giving children a head start in learning to read.
But the primary purpose of reading to your child early in his life is not to provide quantities of anything for his future learning; rather, it is to insure a quality experience in your earliest parent-child relationships. The fact that he will be preparing himself for the later discipline of having to read is secondary. Reading experiences for children in the first three years of their lives must not be for instructive purposes; they should be for the opportunity of mother, father, and child’s sharing time, sound, and delight with one another.

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