Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Concepts of Print

By Donna Klockars

Very Young Readers Teach Me What is Important to Know about Reading

Well, what can I say, Dear Reader?  I have thought about it, and I have thought about it some more, and I have come to the conclusion that the Concepts About Print Checklist is perfunctory, uninspired and bland as milk-toast. This list is supposed to summarize the events that take place along a very young child’s journey to mastering the notion that squiggly black lines splashed on paper or signs reveals meaningful ideas and messages.  I am here to announce that the present day list known to educators as the Concepts About Print Checklist is a series of obvious and mostly perfunctory milestones. The big ticket items have been completely missed!
Here is a sample from the Concepts About Print list of skills to check for:
Knows a book is right side up, knows a book has a front and back,the book should be right side up (really?),knows there is a title, knows words, not pictures, hold the meaning-(FYI, not always.)
The list continues to drone on and is as exciting as this morning’s oatmeal. 

Dear Reader, the worst of it is; it simply misses the opportunity to go ga-ga over the brilliant learning that occurs as our young rug-rats grab and wrestle with the big ticket ideas about “making meaning from black squiggly lines–aka reading and writing”.
Rather than complain to the experts (especially when I am not sure  how to contact the experts), I decided to ask my shorter friends to talk to me about all the things they have figured out about how books (print) work.  I told the kids that this would help big people like me understand how reading works. 
I think their nuggets of information on this topic really nail down the key items that are so important in the engaging and joyful journey toward literacy competence.
Will you read what the kids have to say on the subject and let me know what you think?

Newly-minted Concepts About Print: As Told to me by my Shorter Friends.

  • You can ask for a re-play (like a pause on the remote) of a good story at bed time and this will end up keeping the light on and you can get more cuddle and talking time instead of going to sleep.
  •  You can talk back to the people in the book and give them better ideas when they make mistakes. It is also helpful to tell the writer person if they are funny /not funny.
  • Letters are just like you and me and get their feelings hurt when you don’t know their story and they really want you to say a certain sound when you see it. So now I say “SSS” when I see the S letter because Sammy Snake likes me to do that.
  • Auntie can leave a bunch of blue squigglies on the message board in the barn, and it sounds just like Auntie talking even though she is nowhere to be seen.  (It really happened in our barn; you should come and see it-(the message is still there-she is still talking to me every time I pass the message board. Weird but true!)
  •      If the egg word is in  “The Odd Egg”  story it is so big it fills the whole page and if it is on the egg carton it is small; and if we are making cookies and the egg word  is in the cookbook it is even smaller but it still says egg!  This is ridiculous but it is just the way it is so you have to get over it.
  • It is really awesome when I see my name. Every time you, or my friends see it -you get to say my name. You can ask me to write my name on my best drawings; and this will make the drawing even better because you will see my name when you look at it and you will think about me.  I like Alexandra’s name because it has so many letters and takes a long time to say it.
  • If you let my cousin drink milk from my cup that says my name on it- that’s not nice.  He should drink out of his own cup that says his very own name on it. That is why there are letters. All you have to do is look for the J (the J has a hook and a hat on it) and you will know it is my cup.

  •   If you really want a special toy or a new Lego set, you should find the picture in the TOYSRUS flyer; and then cut out the toy with the words that fit the toy; and then give it to someone in your family who will get you this toy because you really, really want it.  The flyer helps the big person remember what you really, really want.  Ask them to put it in their purse or pocket; so they will remember even though you are at kindergarten.
  • Don’t be embarrassed if everyone talks about when you were little, you liked to read tractor flyers because you thought wheels were cool.  I know a lot and I know that you need to tell everyone what you like to read about.  Things change a lot-because now I like to read about Star Wars characters and so I have to keep telling Grandma I don’t have hardly any Star Wars books.  (and this is how I get my family to get me gajillians of books.)
  • It is cool when you know about dragon flies or,like my cousin, Ari,-she knows about horses.  When you read a lot of books, big people say things like “You are a very smart boy”. 

  • Oh and don’t forget to use big words like nocturnal and stegasaurus and epic when you talk to younger brothers or sisters.  This helps them learn.  It also tells them you  know more than they do. 
  • It is kind of fun to look at a book and guess if the writer person has a pattern in her book. This makes it so you can guess what the next page will talk about.  Grandma says I am like a Reader Detective when I search for clues.  One good clue is to listen for rhyming.  This makes reading really easy when you see the writer likes to rhyme things. I think they do it so it sounds like a song.  I like songs.
  •  Have my uncle read Three Billy Goats Gruff to you.  You will be shaking because he makes the Troll really loud and very scary.  You should notice that he always says the same things every time he reads this story but really loud and scaryier.  One time he did it wrong and I had to help him. (This story is Not recommended for younger kids like my cousin Ari.)
  • It’s good to pay attention to where the letters are; because if you are trying to read go and you start making the sounds the wrong direction, it comes out weird.  But if you start to read no the wrong direction it comes out on…but pup stays the same backwards or forwards.  It’s easy if you know the way it works.
  •   If you like to keep track of all the  Monster Trucks you have, you should put down a letter for each part of the truck’s name and you will be able to read the list and keep track of your monster trucks and this means cousins will know which monster trucks belong to me.   MNSTR TUK LIST GRVDIGR is an example for you to read.
  •    If you get worried, or if certain things are scary, you just find a book that talks about it; and then you know that other kids have some of the worries you do and you can get ideas about making the trouble less troublesome.  (I don’t like dust bunnies, because they move around and are called bunnies; but they are not really alive; but they still scare me.) We read a book about Scaredy Squirrel who was afraid of EVERYTHING and I don’t know why, but felt better after reading this book.
  • When you are reading a book and it makes you think of a really FAT (hard) question for Grandma or Grandpa, you just grab it out of the air, put it into your head; and then you can keep it there or write it down and put it into the I Wonder Box  we have on top of the fridge.
  •   Oh, I think the most important thing is to pretend you are inside the book when there are awesome pictures.  This helps you know what is important and you can see  what is happening better.  I am a good pretender. Lots of times you will see more than your uncle or mom does when they are reading to you. This is because they forget to be in the picture; and they don’t have as good of eyes as we do. 
  • Here is something that you can only learn when you are very smart.  When I was reading a little book called Are you Hun  Gry Little Bear?,  Grandma said hungry was just one word.  I helped her say it properly:  Hun    Gry   She kept saying Hungry.  Maybe she will learn it someday.

·         You should learn the things we have learned about books.  My Grandma writes books with her friends. She asks us kids to help her because we know when a story is good. We get stuffies out and put them in a big circle and we listen to my Grandma’s new stories.  We tell her if the story is funny or not funny. Sometimes she writes a book that nobody likes so we try and figure out how to make it better.  This is hard work but my Grandma really needs our help, so we don’t mind. Did you know we have a lot of stuffies? (One hundred and eighty-six) 
You can come and see them.
We hope this helps you know how to read.  It’s easy when you know how.
Ari, Jayden and Ethan

Well Dear Reader, Let me know if this helped you learn about reading.  I always think it is good to go right to the source.  Asking your favourite shorter friends how they know about how things work is always helpful.

In friendship,
The Literacy Lady

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