Friday, June 26, 2015

Something to try...

Pick up a children's book, preferably something you'd like your child to read. Read it. Slowly...with your child's eyes. With open eyes. Notice things.

Watch for the way the author structures the story. When and how are characters introduced? Hint: the first two chapters of the book are absolutely essential -- authors reveal very key traits -- oftentimes with what seem like tangental experiences.

Read the sentences, focusing on how the author crafted it. By crafting, I mean laboriously and carefully chose each precise word. To reach you, the reader.

As adult readers, oftentimes we take for granted how our brains can unpack and "get" things we read. We read quickly and smoothly...and it isn't until something really "jumps" at us that we stop and say, "Wow!"

But if you look at how each part is put together, it's pretty amazing.

As you notice and appreciate those things, you can point those out to your kids. It's noticing and savoring the nuances and the beauty of the work that takes it from being simply a story to a work of art.

Even the simplest of books can have profound themes, and we can marvel at how an author works.

Take Piggie and Gerald (Mo Willems) -- the way he designs even the predictable text and ties in the illustrations is BRILLIANT. He gets kids, and he absolutely knows his audience.

Cynthia Rylant's Mr.Putter and Tabby series is another. The humor mixed with the touching themes floors me every time. Even the earliest of readers can be exposed to deeper level thinking, while still reading an "easier" book.

I will warn you. It's addicting. As you begin to examine books and writing, you open up a whole new world for yourself as a reader. You'll do it with everything  you read. And it's amazing.

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