Educator Mary Bigler, Ph.D. spoke on raising readers. She reminded us that the most important thing parents and teachers can do to encourage literacy is read to children. She advocates starting at infancy and continuing “until they leave us.” For reluctant readers, Mary suggests joke and riddle books because laughter makes the reading experience non-threatening. She is a master at tongue-twisters and advocates this form of word play for children who are not fond of reading. Mary encouraged us to listen to the rhythm of the writing and to sing the words, if possible. As she says, “If we’re not passionate, the children won’t be.”
Mary also suggested starting a family diary. Each family member is responsible for writing one sentence each day, every day of the year. For very young children, parents can take dictation. She said this shows children that writing is permanent, and in time the family will create an invaluable heirloom.
Mary’s closing comments summarized the meeting. She reminded us children need to see love, kindness and family in the books they read.
Ann Finkelstein writes, reads and fools around with her camera in Haslett, Michigan. You can find out more about her at www.annfinkelstein.com. Please stop by her blog, Words and Pixels.