|FOR THE LOVE OF READING|
|FOR THE LOVE OF READING|
My early childhood was golden. Really. My parents created an idyllic outside space that I remember being purely golden. There were the flower gardens, the cherry tree, and a large vegetable garden. I remember a patch of mint and lilies of the valley. It was a beautiful yard where I imagined, played and created a million different worlds and adventures. I grew up with the growing things. My memories from that early time really are tinged with a golden light.
I yearn to create such a world for my children. Alas, my garden beds are not quite as impressive. I have all the right tools. But, I struggle a bit with finding my inner-gardener. I’m sure she’s there. (I worry that she’s a bit crowded by my family’s needs, the house that perpetually needs picked up, the job that tends to take over every extra minute, and every other little thing that seems more important than digging in the dirt).
But growing things is important. I am convinced. So I keep planting and try not to notice that the weeds are taking over and the leaves look a little yellow. I peek at them sometimes from behind my book as I relax in the sun. I feel a bit guilty but, as usual, the books get my attention before the plants.
Right now I am reading a book entitled Opening Minds by Peter H. Johnston. His ideas have completely taken me in. There is so much to think about on every page. But, recently, one idea grabbed me and held on. He states, “… books are not merely to entertain or to teach kids to figure out words or even to learn things from. They are tools for growing minds”.
“Tools for growing minds”.
“Books are not merely to entertain.
Or to teach kids how to figure out words.
Or even to learn things from.
They are tools for growing minds”.
Johnston continues by stating that children need to discuss the ideas in the books that they read or hear read aloud. That children’s minds require opportunities for dialogue about text with their peers. And that these opportunities help their minds grow and change and develop into the minds of compassionate, insightful, adults. Therefore, he argues, we must use books as dialogic tools in classrooms and homes everywhere.
We must use books as tools.
If I don’t use my gardening tools, my garden will not flourish.
If we don’t use books as tools, children’s minds will not grow.
My gardening tools may sit unused a bit too often. My plants may grow weed-bound and yellowed. But the little minds in my house are still growing. And they are tended by the books that threaten to take over all the extra space.
We can all use books as tools to grow every child’s mind into a place tinged by golden light. Where ideas grow like vegetables and new insights bloom every single day.
We can do it. With so much joy and light.
We can do it together.