‘The world is a possibility if only you’ll discover it.’

He is surprisingly gentle with my books. On any given day he flips through the pages with his chubby fingers, wonders in the words, rubs the tip of his index finger across the lines of dark markings. He sits for chunks at a time looking at the images, the tiny crooked letters on the page. He can not read yet, but he is curious, and at this age (or any age), curiosity and engagement matters.

I recently taught a workshop for foster and adoptive parents on the importance of reading with children. We talked about simple things we can do to help foster early literacy skills and development: keep books accessible in the home and read to younger (and older) children. Make time for reading, make it transparent, and in conspicuous places, so that young people have inspiring models and images of good reading habits. Read often, separate and together. Take trips to the library regularly to pick out new books, it is a community resource and is there for us to use (for free).

I like this quote by Orville Prescott, “Few children learn to love books by themselves. Someone has to lure them into the wonderful world of the written word: someone has to show them the way.”

Title quote by Ralph Ellison

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Categories: Education, Parenting, Writing

17 Comments on “‘The world is a possibility if only you’ll discover it.’”

  1. Rachael Charmley
    April 4, 2014 at 3:18 am #

    Nice to have you back. Interesting quote, but it’s not always true. Both my husband and youngest daughter were born with a love of reading and books – they needed no encouragement. Perhaps that’s unusual. :-)

    • April 4, 2014 at 5:10 am #

      Hi there Rachael, thank you, it’s nice to be back.

      That’s wonderful that your husband and daughter love reading and books. The research does suggest that many of us are born with a love of learning and curiosity, and sometimes, somewhere along the way (often in childhood but not always), encounter obstacles (in school, home, work) to learning, literacy, and/or access to books. I think about the adult that likes to read but just doesn’t have/make time for it, or the child that is curious but does not have access to books.

      I picked this quote as inspiration, as a celebration of learning, wonder, possibility because for many, learning does require a certain kind of intention, curiosity, determination, willingness. But yes, certainly there are exceptions to quotes and all ways of being in the world. : )

  2. March 13, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Thank you for sharing your child’s fascination with books. I believe children are born with a strong desire to be taught, which explains a bit of why they always are asking, “Why?” The challenge for us as parents and community members involved in their young lives is, “What are WE demonstrating is important enough to do it ourselves?” Is it important to spend time with family? Spend time reading? Spend time praying? They have to see us doing it for it to be important. If we watch hours upon hours of tv, then this is what we are telling them is important.

    • March 13, 2014 at 11:57 am #

      Well said. We are the role models and children are always watching right?! I have three boys and they all have their own special relationship with books and reading. I love it. And while there are several things in play that I credit for their love of books, one thing I know they see my husband and I doing is reading. This of course applies to so many things: being present in the moment (no tech), how we use our quality time, and so on.

      I appreciate how children can remind us about what is important, how they are dripping with curiosity. Their questions, their “why”(s) are about discovery, creativity, intelligence, and development. It’s all in there, and as parents, caregivers, educators, we just have to nurture and support it.

      Cheers to that. Thank you for stopping by and joining in on the conversation.

  3. Gwen Stephens
    March 12, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    I’d have loved to have been a part of that workshop – what a wonderful experience for both you and those in attendance. We started reading to our kids in infancy, and it was time we all loved. I still read to my kids — they are now a ‘tween and a young teen — I just choose YA books I think they’ll enjoy. We congregate in my bedroom each night and they lie down and listen to a chapter or two before they’re off to bed. It helps them wind down after a long, stimulating day and it gives us time to spend together, which is harder to come by the older they get.

    Loved this post, Dionne.

    • March 12, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      Thank you Gwen. I had so much fun facilitating this workshop with engaged parents looking for ideas on how to get their children excited about books. I walked out of that workshop just as inspired as the participants. This was such an important conversation because many of these parents were raising children with varied learning challenges and children often reading below “grade level” so it was nice to get these parents energized about reading with their kids.

      And I should say you have a good thing going on in your household! It can not be overstated that reading to adolescents and teens is just as important as reading to babies, toddlers, preschool and primary grade children. What a gift that you’ve been reading to them for so long. Not only does this reading aloud (and together) ritual continue to strengthen literacy skills for your girls but it is also built-in quality time all in one. Smart! The family that reads together…

      • Gwen Stephens
        March 16, 2014 at 6:49 am #

        I plan to ride the “read aloud wave” as long as I can, Dionne. There are too many good things that can come of it.

      • March 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

        Cheers to that Gwen!

  4. March 12, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Reading is vital for every child. It is true. The fact that you are actually spreading the message and helping people to empower themselves and their children is simply great. :)

    • March 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

      Thank you! Yes, books open our worlds to so much. When I teach and work with families, I remind parents that books are openings, important pathways to knowledge for children.

      • March 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

        Hello again Dionne. How i love positive people doing positive things. I love positive blogs too. So I am happy that I bumped into yours. Should you get the chance, feel free to pop in at my blog and see what I am up to. Enjoy the rest of your week. Nomzi :)

      • March 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

        Thank you Nomzi, how kind of you. I will definitely check out your blog. Thank you for following “lifeandwrite”!

      • March 14, 2014 at 2:31 am #

        You are most welcome Dionne. Have a great weekend. :)

  5. March 12, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    The time I spent reading with my mom in younger days left in indelibly sweet impression on me, to the point even typing this as a 35yo makes me smile. We have books all around the house here, and have just gotten back into visiting the library. My son enjoys the books, and I enjoy them as well . . . together with echoes of sweet memory. Lovely post!

    • March 12, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Thank you for sharing your experiences! Memories of books, reading, stick with us don’t they? I too have fond memories of a childhood spent surrounded by books. So glad you have books all around the house, and are finding your way back to the library with your son. I still maintain that libraries are such gifts!

  6. March 12, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Reblogged this on From My Window and commented:
    “A reader live a thousand lives….. who never reads, only one.” ~~ George R. R. Martin
    Teach your children to live more than one life.

    • March 12, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

      Yes!!! That is a great quote. And thank you for the reblog Rivera!

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