Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Reading, relationships and words of wisdom from Anna Dewdney

newest title from Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama series

Hi all! E and I are officially back in London town.  The cat seems to have fared ok in our absence and though we're missing friends, family and the beach ... it's nice to be home. We've returned with books stuffed in every available air pocket of the suitcases and I'm eager to share our current reading list with you.  However, before I launch into these new (and some old) finds, I want to stop and take note of an editorial that I've been making a bit of noise about this week. 

Children's author Anna Dewdney published a piece in the Wall Street Journal last week entitled, How Books Can Teach Your Child to Care or Why Reading is Crucial Not Just for Literacy. I was so struck by this piece, and how she distills the precious act of reading aloud with a child, that I thought it warranted its own post. 

Dewdney deftly articulates what I often refer to as the magic of reading in saying, 'When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.' She goes on to write, ' that that child then learns to feel the world more deeply, becoming more aware of himself and others in a way that he simply cannot experience except in our laps, or in our classrooms, or in our reading circles.'

This got me thinking about the act of reading as much as what we're reading. She talks about the intimate human connection that is made when we read with a child and how this helps them to understand what it is to be human, and therefore teaches them empathy. Think about it.  These moments when we read aloud with a child are not just forming memories or teaching vocabulary, but they are providing a small yet highly powerful human interaction. 

It reminded me of our last night in the US reading bedtime stories with E.  He was a bit prickly this trip to say the least and would only let his parents read stories to him. However, on this night he permitted my Mom to linger in his room and listen to storytime.  It was interesting to me that though she didn't get to read to him as she dearly want to do, it served another purpose to share in that moment with him, to see how we all interacted and to be a part of that human connection.

If you get a chance then I urge you to click on the link above and read the full piece from Anna Dewdney. Her latest book appears to be out in the US already and it looks to be another hit, Llama, Llama and the Bully Goat.


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