Yesterday I was at the library observing the world around me. A parent was trying to get their six year old child to recognize the difference between the words like “lit” and “lite” : the silent e conundrum. Many adults still have problems with this and it’s one of those tricky aspects of the English language that may or may not take some time to figure out. The child was having none of it. I could see the distracted look and wandering eyes. This child is going to be pushed when they aren’t ready and will end up hating school and learning. I’ve seen it over and over many times in the past eighteen years. I can’t change what the parent wants, I can’t change the parent, I didn’t even ask their name. I did go up afterwards and make small talk and then did something I’ve done before: I went and found them a book.
The one book I always recommend parents to start with is Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook. I finally read the whole book cover-to-cover a couple of years ago after reading excerpts over the years. I’m glad I did and it was a great refresher. You don’t even have to be a parent or teacher to read this. Anyone with children or young adults or looking for a great present for family members, this is an awesome resource. Many of the books he lists I’ve never even heard of and never saw when I subbed in public schools. I’ve actually picked up and read quite a few. I’m glad I have.
Mr. Trelease also talks about the importance of not having screen time and the parent-teacher connection.
I walked around and handed the parent the Handbook. Before they walked away they had mumbled something about getting books for themselves and then I saw them doing an educational game on the computer with their child, who again had the glazed over, disinterested look. I handed them the book and then walked away. I hoped they checked the book out and are reading it.