I just got off the phone with my Dad and in the course of the discussion we were talking about how much Ivy liked hearing my dad read her The Elephants Child by Rudyard Kipling last weekend. This was the original scalesome flailsome tail version, O Best Beloved, with one measly black and white illustration for the whole story, and Ivy loved it. She is after all a child full of ‘satiable curiosity! It’s no surprise that my Dad and I agreed that challenging books are great for kids, after all I grew up listing to my Dad read the same stories to me!
A few observations, and beliefs of mine:
People talk down to kids.
Kids of all ages understand far more than they are ever given credit for.
We create and read books to kids that are far below their comprehension level.
These books are boring, for everyone adult and child.
If you don’t challenge a vocabulary it will not grow.
You don’t need to understand every word in a book to understand the book.
My Dad seems to be holding a grudge against Dick and Jane.
Older books have great stories and vocabulary, think Beatrix Potter, Kipling, A.A. Milne.
If a picture book has one paragraph of words or less per page throw it back.
Unless the illustrations are gorgeous then take it home anyway.
And so every time we go to the library I make sure at least one book is a challenging one. Sometimes those are Ivy’s favorites and sometimes they are not but every time she gets to learn a little more.
And sometimes all this learning it causes a bit of a problem . Today a speech therapist told me Ivy’s language skills were advanced beyond her motor skills which was causing her to have fluency problems (in plain speak a nice lady played with Ivy, she stutters but she’ll grow out of it), but that’s a problem a parent can be proud of!