Back when I was a young mother, if you walked into our home and saw the Play-doh out, you could be pretty sure it was bad day. I knew if I let the kids play with the Play-doh, I was guaranteed a few minutes (maybe even an hour) of peace. But that peace came with a price. Play-doh was a mess to clean up and days later I often found myself picking it off the carpet, cabinets and sometimes even the kids.
Imagine my delight when I discovered “Model Magic” after I became a Grandmom. Now I could be the cool grandmom, have a little peace and make the mess disappear in no time. Guess that’s why it’s magic!
It’s amazing when you discover something that easily solves a problem or performs a task in a simple but powerful way. My years as a parent and teacher have convinced me of the power of another kind of Model Magic. I’m talking about the power of parents (and other significant adults) who read regularly in the presence of their kids. From the time your child is born, pamphlets, parenting books, doctors, educators, and PBS make it their business to encourage you to read to your child. Excellent advice! However, when it comes to growing a reader, there are many pieces to the puzzle. Being surrounded by adults who enjoy reading and frequently read is “model magic”.
Attitudes are caught not taught. Children are more likely to do as we do far more than do as we say. Researchers and Educators have long touted the impact of parents who create a home filled with print and share their love of reading with their kids. But, you are BUSY! The realities of daily life for young parents leave little time to curl up with a good book. What’s the solution? The fact is, there’s no easy solution, but it’s not impossible to create your own pockets of reading, just like we want kids to do. Stock up on books and magazines to read. Place baskets of books around the home and invite everyone to dig in. Leave reading material in the car. Carve out special times in the course of the week when everyone “Drops Everything and Reads”. Something this powerful and important can’t be left to chance. The pay-off for everyone is too great. Treat yourself to a good read and model magic while you’re at it.
Today’s Book Recommendation:
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry has been around for many years. It is an historical fiction novel set in Denmark during World War II when the Germans occupied that country. Lois Lowry provides a realistic peek into what life was like for the Danish people at that time. She weaves the themes of courage, friendship, and prejudice into a page turner that you can’t put down. If you provide strong background knowledge, this is a text that most fifth to eighth graders can enjoy independently. However, it’s also the perfect book to share and has the potential to generate great discussion.