Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Two Men and a Book

Actually lots of books. There are two men I admire in the world who are very influential in connecting children with books. One is Jim Trelease and the other is Bill Martin. I was introduced to these men's work in my early thirties, after I had my BS in Elem Ed and after I had taught. Now I had my own children and I wanted to know more. Here is a more extensive look at Jim Trelease , his work and his career.

One of the things that struck me from Mr. Trelease is this bit of wisdom:

There is a connection between
want to read and how to read.
My very first principal looked over my first grade next-to-the-bottom reading group and told me these children would not learn to read that year. I was floored. He was giving up on me? on them? on us? before the first day of school? His next sentence freed me to be one of the best first grade teachers in the district. He said, "Your job this year is to convince these kids that reading is the most fun class of the day, that reading is exciting, and they will read. You don't have to mention that it won't be this year."

This wise principal and Jim Trelease know that no one learns to fish, unless they love fishing. No one learns to swim unless they love the water. No one learns to read unless what is in a book is seen as a treasure.

Reading aloud to children motivates them
to want to read themselves.

It's almost as elementary as climbing the mountain because it's there. A person has know the mountain exists. He must see the mountain in all its glory. He develops the need to be swallowed up in "mountainness." In other words, be at one with the mountain, fully experience it. So he begins the climb. (Disclaimer: this is an analogy. I am not a flower child or someone who worships nature instead of the Creator.)

Children who are read to latch on to reading. The research proves it. And in a less scientific proclamation, my family proves it. We are one generation after another of readers. Reading aloud sustained that gift.

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