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Tuesday, March 27, 2007


"The next stage of ordinality comes from children's being read to. When children hear a story several times they learn the order of the words, and want to hear them again and again. They are acutely sensitive to this order and get upset if it is not followed exactly."
From The Power of Play by David Elkind

I can attest to this from experience with reading to my daughters. We had a routine for Allison and Carolyn to each pick a Golden book to read before bed. Some nights, when we had time, it would be two or more. Some nights we picked something other than a Golden book. There were periods of the same book (for what seemed) weeks on end. I know I can still pick up the "The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear" and get back into the flow of reading it like we did once upon a time.

Little Red Riding Hood was also a favorite. When we found Jim Trelease's Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud, we also found that there were variations on this classic tale. Lon Po Po is one the girls liked but from the Trelease book the favorite was far and away "The Gunniwolf".

The Gunniwolf story provided repetition which the girls enjoyed, and variety when they let me. The first time repeating the story, it had to be exactly as the original. The second and third time as well. By the fourth time, I started to stray a little and the "pit a pat" of Little Girl's footsteps started to venture off the trail. Initially, my girls would have none of this variation. I had to stick to the book. Gradually, they found that going off the trail could be fun. They found that they could suggest something and sure enough, the "pit a pat" would take Little Girl there. Of course, the wolf's "hunka cha" would follow but that was only natural.

Alas my girls are young ladies now, they don't fit in my lap together anymore. We still do read together for special times (like Christmas).

If there would be one single thing a parent should do with their children, for my own experience, I would recommend a routine of regular reading.

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