NUMBER 14 • 2 MAY 2002 • READING TOGETHER
INDEX OF QUOTES
Moves, visits to hospitals, new babies, and the death of a grandparent are all emotional events in the lives of young children that can be understood a little better through the warmth and comfort of sharing a well-chosen book. Sometimes such books provide the parent with ways of talking about sensitive issues that have eluded other explanation. For some parents human sexuality is almost impossible to talk about. One young boy we know rushed downstairs after a long discussion with his father and announced, “We need more books with diagrams! Dad’s having trouble!” Fortunately for the boy and his father, they were used to “looking things up.” The everyday routine of using books as a source of information got them through a tricky moment.
The point is that books are a constant source of pleasure and information. They almost always provide opportunities for sharing everyday views of the world, and sometimes they provide parents with opportunities for sharing information about fragile and sensitive issues.
Another way for children to learn the value of books, one that is of inestimable value, is for them to see the adults in their lives using books as sources of pleasure and information. Reading newspapers, “curling up with a good book,” and looking up a particular recipe in a cookbook all carry messages for young children. When children see an adult reading books about different breeds of dogs when choosing a new puppy or reading a bus schedule before travelling at a new time or to a new place, they see print in action. Very often such occasions provide parents with opportunities not only for demonstrating the uses of print, but also for sharing it with the child.
As children grow, they too should have opportunities to use books as resources for particular kinds of information. Cookbooks for children abound, and they provide an everyday example of a specialized text that can be used for information and pleasure. Fortunately, a wide variety of children’s books are available on every conceivable topic a child might ask about or be interested in. Planting gardens, understanding the changes in the weather, and learning about ancient dinosaurs are all topics easy to explore through books. Needless to say, they are also topics that can be shared.
— DENNY TAYLOR and DOROTHY STRICKLAND
Taylor, D. and Strickland, D. (1986) Family Storybook Reading. Portsmouth: Heinemann extracts from pp. 65-67