Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to Read to Kids

Reading to your kids is an inevitable part of parenthood, like contemplating cutting your heart out with the plastic gingerbread man during Candy Land, cursing while you sweep up pasta and it just keeps tumbling away from you, and lying that your daughter is 10 so you can take her to Yad Vashem. (What? Not everyone does that? Also - see what I did there? Linking to the non-snarky blog I write for. So sneaky).

There are a number of ways you can read to your kids. As an example, I am going to use Curious George (the Original). A book that Nadav is currently enthralled by. "Monkey? Abba?" (Abba = other people's daddy; here, the Man with the Yellow Hat.)

Now, I love me some Curious George, although reading the book as an adult has left me feeling somewhat concerned about H.A. Rey's ethics. Stealing indigenous animals to sell to a zoo? Giving tobacco to young impressionable primates? Arresting a minor and throwing him in prison because of a prank call? The lack of guards in said prison? The balloon man selling balloons right outside the prison wall?


Nadav does not seem bothered by this at all. So we read Monkey over and over. I've been doing the Full Read lately.

The Full Read
"This is George. He lived in Africa. He was a good little monkey and always very curious."

Although it takes a long time, it requires little brain power. You can read every word without paying attention, freeing your mind to think about something more important, like how long till Grey's comes back. (Thursday Jan. 10. I'm already on to thinking about something else. Like playing "Dust or bug?")

The Summarizer
"Look! Here's George! He's trying on the man's hat! The man put him in a bag and took him to a ship! Oh no! George is in the water!"

This, I find, is actually the most difficult way to read a book. It sounds promising in the beginning - just tell them the gist of the story, no need to read every word. However, summarizing involves analytical skills. So, no thanks.

The One Sentence Per Page
"This is George. He picked it up and put it on. George was caught. Across the water to a big ship. But it is easy for little monkeys to forget. Finally he HAD to try. And almost all tired out. At last he was safe on board. And on into the city to the man's house. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Just then the watchman came in. What a nice place for George to live!"

If your kids are young enough, they won't understand that what you're saying makes absolutely no sense. They'll be happy that you are turning the pages and reading the familiar words.

The Board Book Version
(My personal favorite, but there is a limited amount of time you can get away with it.)

Fire engines!

What method do you prefer?


toby said...

Wow, I didn't even know you *had* a non-snarky blog. Thanks for letting us know! Wish I had a good answer to your Holocaust question, though...


Wait! You forgot the "leave a word out and make them say it" version. "This is......? Who? Who is it?"

It's so cute when Nadav tries to say the word "curious."

Dorona said...

I LOLed your questions about the book. Shahar always looks disturbed when George gets thrown in jail for the prank call. But loves the balloons, so the next page makes up for it. Not for me so much.

JerusalemStoned said...

I do the first sentence AND last sentence! And sometimes it makes sense! Which is funny and weird.

Shira said...

JS, I do the same thing! Gila, I totally agree with your sentiments about Curious George. I actually "lost" the book so I wouldn't have to read it anymore. The favorite in our house is "Make Way for Ducklings"

Gila Rose said...

JS, great idea! Will have to add it to my list.

Shira - while I love MWFD, I have found that it is so difficult to do the Full Read. That book is freakin' wordy!

LL said...

I read the whole book. But on to more important things, Grey's! I should have just checked your blog instead of to find out when it comes back.

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