Friday, June 29, 2007

Breakthrough

I've been reading The Wind in the Willows to Ethan, although it's still just a tad beyond him. Thanks to (again) The Common Room, I've realized that it's important to expose him to lovely prose and extended vocabulary from a very young age.

He loves books already, since we've read to him from day one. When he was too little to care about content, I would read him Psalms and Thoreau. Dave made it all the way through the entire works of A.A. Milne with him at about 6 months of age (Ethan, not Dave). As he got older, we moved on to books about trucks and tools, but nothing classic, really.

I have a treasure trove of classic children's literature that I was saving for the "right" time. But who's to say that time isn't now? There's nothing saying if he reads them now he will never read them again. And there's nothing saying that we have to make it a chore and slog through them if he's bored (of course I wouldn't).

So that's what we did. We made it through about half a chapter of Wind in the Willows at the first sitting. Then, to my surprise, the other day when we came to the end of a chapter he asked me to keep going. And today? Today he got the book off the counter and brought it to me and asked me to read it to him.

Yes, it's slow going - he loses the thread of the plot now and then, and we have to frequently stop so I can explain what a word means - but he's interested in it and always wants to hear more (which is what I suspected might happen; after all, how can an active three-year-old boy possibly resist the antics of Toad?). And even if he will have to read it again when he's older in order to understand and appreciate it, right now we are having wonderful bonding moments, over some of the most lyrical children's prose out there.

Next up? Something else I suspect will readily find a place in the heart of an adventurous three-year-old - James Barrie's Peter Pan. And since he has a particular fondness for all green growing things, I think we'll follow that up with The Secret Garden.

2 comments:

Jamie said...

Once again, you've inspired me! I've been saving all my favorites for the "right" time as well. But now I'm going to dig in! Thank you!

I also just read a blog about reading from the Bible than the watered down Bible stories. So that's going to begin as well.

My goodness, by the time Ethan and Ida are four, they'll be reading to their siblings...right? ;o)

mommy said...

They could very well be! Ethan's been showing a bit more interest in learning his letters, but not much. We'll get there eventually; still trying hard not to push it.

He asked my mom last night to read him "Toad," so he's still enjoying it. I'm rethinking Peter Pan, because he's been having some difficulty with waking up in the middle of the night thinking his imaginary friend "Tamalin" is peeking in his bed, and also that there is light in his room, so I'm guessing the last thing he needs is a story of a strange boy who flies in your window accompanied by a light (Tinkerbell). I think we'll just skip it for now and do Secret Garden and - one I had forgotten was so charming - 101 Dalmations!

What are you reading to Ida? I bet she'd love the Little Princess type stuff, or Little House on the Prarie. :)