July 24, 2007

Family Stories, Family Play, Readers. Randomness.

"Reading is Fundamental" parents are told from the time their kids are very, very small. But what happens if you are a parent who is a poor reader? The UK Guardian reports that one in every ten families struggles to read to their children.

When I was teaching full-time, I taught juvenile offenders and elementary students with learning differences. One of "my" boys is now nineteen, with a child who is a year old. I remember his reading skills. I remember how well he told stories (we called them LIES, *ahem*), but know that reading past the picture book stage might become a bit dicey. I also know that reading aloud will help HIS reading skills along with the developing language skills of his young son. Those of you who are in education and library sciences - what do you guys do about this? What programs and practices are in place at your local library?
Hah. Poor Stephanie Meyer. It's not enough to write vampire novels that have young people all around the globe lining up to cheer for your visits. Now people keep insisting on calling you the next JK Rowling. Um. Noooooo. Just read the first chapter of Eclipse and see. Meanwhile, the Horn Book review of HP's last tome is up, and likely a titch spoiler-rific. Read at your own risk, or if you don't have time to actually ...read the book.
Another interesting piece in the news today comes from The Boston Globe, where the idea of parents and children playing together is being criticized. "American-style parent-child play is a distinct feature of wealthy developed countries -- a recent byproduct of the pressure to get kids ready for the information-age economy," says anthropologist David Lancy. Especially since my sister has recently had a child, I am intrigued by people's interactions with small children -- the sort of brain melting, high-pitched, 'and who wuvvs gwamma's boy, huh? huh? who wuvvs him?' type of reactions it seems to elicit (*ahem* Sorry, Mom).

It does seem to be, with some parents, that the times they play with their children are largely directed interactions, play with a purpose - either of creating Baby Einsteins or baby-some-other rapier witted future leader of the country. Yes, it's nutty and silly to peoples of most cultures to play with one's kids -- actually play is silly and nutty, but what are you going to do? HOWEVER, I disagree with Mr. Lancy's theory -- that just because people in other cultures have to work to keep things together, and it's a moment-by-moment-hand-to-mouth sort of life that there isn't some sort of parent-child play.

You cannot tell me that there are no transcendent moments of giggling over the way a water buffalo makes a sort of bubbly squishy noise when it submerges itself. You cannot tell me that a child startling because of a frog - and then recovering and laughing together with a parent -- doesn't happen between parents and children in developing nations. You cannot tell me that people in other worlds don't laugh or play because their laughter or play does not look like mine. I do agree that parents so overly involved with their children's play in some ways inhibit them -- my sibs, at least kind of needed to be left alone (says she with no children but loads of opinions), and then when they invited me into their play, it was their play -- the surreal, bizarre (truly - truly bizarre) interiors of their imagination. However, I think we need not define play quite so narrowly as to eliminate it from non-Westernized cultures... Anyway - a thought-provoking read if you have time.

And now, back to packing.


Melissa said...

I totally agree about Stephenie Meyer. I think Little, Brown is playing this a bit too like Harry Potter for my taste... no ARCs, no interviews. They're trying to build up something that isn't there. They are fun books, and all, but she is not Rowling.

Little Willow said...

I don't like when people or places or books or movies or ANYTHING is called the next something-which-is-established.

Be unique. Don't equate yourself with someone else. Make your own way.