Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why Picture Books Matter


     You know that feeling of excitement when you open a fresh container of play-doh?  I like to take a whiff of its salty smell first.  Then I plop it out carefully without injury to its perfect cylinder shape.  Finally, when the dough is least expecting it, I smush it with abandon.   Oh so soft and supple, ready to transform into anything I can imagine.   Sloppy spaghetti on a plate. A penguin prince sailing an iceberg to NYC.  Axl Rose.

Some serious smashing is
about to go down. 
     Tara Lazar posted this week on the importance of picture books to children: "Picture books let them know there’s a place without limits. (Psst, it’s called “the imagination”!)"

      Some activities - like playing in the back yard because mommy is digging in the garbage disposal to see if she lost her mind in there- force kids to use their imaginations.  These activities are like rolling pins, dough presses, and cookie cutters shaping and stretching little minds.


     Other activities - like watching the Gangnam style video on youtube repeatedly or playing Angry Birds - harden those kid brains like a misshapen dough meatball lost behind a table leg. 

      I want my kids to have mushy brains!  (Um, well, you know what I mean.)  I want them to see infinite possibilities.  So how do I keep their imaginations fresh and moldable? 

Read. Read. Read. 

      I was reminded of this last night at a Kindergarten Readiness meeting at pre-K.  "The most important thing you can do for your children is to read.  Read them anything.  Read their favorite books over and over again if they ask."  Even if it's SpongeBob Squarepants Slurps Stinky Spaghetti for the seventeeth time.  It doesn't matter what, just keep reading. 

So, I want to know:  what is your record for most picture books read in a day?  I commit to attempting to beat the highest number posted in the comments!  

11 comments:

  1. This is a great post, Lauri! I can't come up with a number off hand, but we read A LOT at our house and I know that reading to little ones is really foundational to later reading habits, because my son, now 12, loves to read. It's his favorite way to unwind after a busy school day. It's the first thing he does in the morning and the last thing before bed.

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    1. I love that your son reads in the morning. Your mind is a totally different place in the morning, all rested and open to learning something new. I shall dub this "oatmeal brain"- mushy and appropriate for the morning.

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  2. I'm in favor of mushy brains...all too soon they're still drilled into memorizing times tables and grammar rules for the sake of MCAS.

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    1. I was blissfully unaware there were common core standards for kindergarten until yesterday. Would it be easier to create robot children than try to keep their imaginations alive? *shudders*

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  3. I suspect heaven smells like PlayDoh. Just sayin'.

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    1. love it. You should make T-shirts with that saying.

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  4. Hi Lauri,
    I loved your descriptions of Play Doh, and why it's so important to read to our children.
    The illustrations in your banner are adorable!
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog yesterday. It's nice to meet you! :-D
    Tracy

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    1. Tracy - I enjoyed your site - so much more than illustrator information!
      During 2 hours of play doh today, I swear I thought of nothing else but how nice it was to squish playdoh with my kiddos during that time. I may have lamented for 7 seconds that the orange and pink above are already mashed together - but it was only 7 seconds.

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  5. Mushy brains! Love it. My kids are older, but going to the library and bringing home stacks of books was a weekly event for us. Reading has always been a priority around our house too. :)

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    1. I'm trying to figure out where I can put a book case, so the books are more exposed. I see a trip to Pinterest in my future.

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