reading and small children – why imagination matters

getting my reading on with David and Beks
getting my reading on with David and Beks

But the Lord’s faithful love is from forever ago to forever from now
for those who honor him. And God’s righteousness reaches to the grandchildren… – Psalm 103:17

Monday morning, for part-two of Rebekah’s “Mother’s Day with Naomi” treat, the children stayed home with me while the moms enjoyed some recreational shopping in Wake Forest.

My mum (who lives just next door), elected to skip the shopping and enjoy some extra hours of quality great-grandchild time. All we did was play. Consequently, the entire morning consisted of books, and trains, and books, and cars, and books, and monkeys in a barrel, and then more books.

reading is serious stuff of Beks
reading is serious stuff of Beks

READING: Both children love to read; but Beks, at almost 23-months, would be quite happy if all she did was to look at her books all day. She is a great talker, with an expansive functional vocabulary, but her favorite phrase is, “Book! Read it! Please!” Accompanied by a determined thrusting of said book into the hands, or lap, of the closest grown-up. She carefully selects the book she wants, clambers up into my lap, then tucks a back-up book under her right leg for safe-keeping.

She also loves to sit beside another person to read. But you both have to be reading, and she periodically looks over to check – to monitor – and make sure she’s not reading alone.

For Beks, even breakfast Monday morning involved a book in one hand – turning pages between bites – and food in the other. Like I said, reading is serious business with this one.

reading with breakfast!

CULTURE OF IMAGINATION: But I’m not that surprised. Rebekah and I worked hard to generate a culture of reading and applied imagination at Maul-Hall when our children were growing up, and I’m guessing the effort must have taken root.

We would read to our children, read with them, and have them read to us; we would read before bed, read during naps, read instead of watching television, and read aloud on road-trips; we read the Bible together at family devotions (now Naomi and Craig do the same), and we’d commit passages to memory; and then we’d tell stories off the top of our heads when there wasn’t a book handy.

Reading also fits in with the emphasis on creative play, problem-solving, imaginative games, and maintaining an atmosphere where inquisitiveness, invention, and initiative take precedence over pressing buttons, viewing monitors, and changing batteries.

checking out my binoculars
checking out my binoculars

Rebekah and I are those grandparents; you know, the ones who eschew electronic toys and like to give the children wooden blocks, puzzles, train-track additions, cars, and wonderful story books. Then their parents reinforce thinking, and exploration, and creativity, and fantasy; it makes our hearts sing to see how connected David and Beks are to the joy of imagination.

So we played all morning. But, while there were empty barrels of monkeys all over the place, and the extensive toy-debris of errant trains and cars and puzzles and more, mostly we read. And we read. And we read some more.

This is one happy grandaddy!

Enjoy the pics – DEREK

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