Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reading to 3 Year Olds

Last Friday, I got to spend time at school with my kids. I had signed up to chaperone Teagan's class field trip to see a musical stage production of Junie B. Jones. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to spend some time at school with, Zach, too. I offered my time and was given the opportunity to read to the class.

The pressure started when I had to start thinking about what books to read. The letter of the week was H and the topic of the week was Health. But I couldn't find any books that seemed to go with either of those. Finally, I just decided to pick a few books that I enjoy reading and that Zach likes to have read to him.

The Monster At The End of This Book

Skippyjon Jones

Where The Wild Things Are

Having previously been a theatre geek, I rarely just read a book. I like to do little voices and actions and stuff- it's what makes reading to kids really fun. And those 3 books have fantastic opportunities to be silly, make funny voices and accents, and be overly emotive.

We all sat down together on the rug. I sat in front of the group and held the book up so that the kids could see the pictures as I was reading. I told the kids that I had brought 3 of Zach's favorite books to read that day. In all honesty, I'm not sure those were Zach's favorite books at the time. But they certainly are now because they are the only books he wants to read!

I rarely just read a book- meaning just read the words as written on the page. I know kids are encouraged to sit and listen when someone is reading. For me, a book is an opportunity to talk and engage. So I would read and I would engage them by asking questions... "Do you think I should turn the page?" "What color beans do you see?" "What are the Wild Things doing in this picture?"

I was amazed that the kids stayed attentive for all 3 books. And they kept scooting closer and closer to me and I had to remind them to scoot back so they could all see the pictures. They listened, they engaged, they answered my questions, they giggled.

But the best part of all was Zach's face when I walked in holding those books. There are times when his joy overwhelms him and he doesn't want to just grin like a fool so he makes this face where he does like a big "O" with his mouth and all the smile is coming from his eyes. It cracks me up. And once I sat down to read to him and his friends, I could tell that he was just so excited and proud to have his mommy there in his classroom.

Those are the moments I have to remember and hold dear. We're starting to see signs of obstinence and defiance with our boy- at home and at school. Sometimes, it's endearing when he does what you want by asking or telling him to do the opposite. Sometimes, it's just annoying that he won't follow simple instructions. And all the things that would work with Teagan don't work with him. He doesn't really care too much about being in trouble. He doesn't get too upset when his toy gets taken away. We haven't really found his currency- and I know that's an issue at school as well. He just doesn't respond to rewards/punishments.

So when that frustration hits and we are struggling to find the thing that will work... I have to remember him holding my arm and the grin on his face as I read "and they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws..."



Amanda said...

My youngest is like yours, nothing phases him when it comes to dicipline. We do a lot of talking and trying to deeply get to his heart. I know he's going to make a lot of mistakes and have to learn from them, he's going to be the hardest one to raise, because it will hurt me to watch him go through it.

C. Beth said...

That is awesome. I read with voices & stuff too...so fun.

Shell said...

Oh, how sweet of you to do this! And it sounds like the kids loved it!