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An Educational Summer

There is not much disagreement that reading to your children for at least 20 minutes a day is a very good thing–and that’s good. A quick scan of a google search for “read to your children” will give you a pretty good outline of many of those reasons. However, the most important one is underrepresented: reading to your child provides connection–a critical foundation for a loving learning climate (Connect by Edward Hallowell, Knopf Doubleday 1999). Great teachers bring their students together and read to them at least once a day–not while they are sitting at their desks, but packed together on the floor as close to one another as they can get.

During our summer week together my daughter read to my two granddaughters (ages 7 and 10) at least once a day—sometimes before breakfast. The rest of the day was filled with: playing monopoly, careers and card games, building sand castles, creative play in the miniature “mouse house,” going for nature walks, picking blueberries, canoeing on a still lake at dawn, sailing, driving to Aunt Molly’s house, picking out books in the library. The play was interspersed with conflict, of course. Most siblings can usually find something to fight about and my granddaughters have been doing it so long that most of their disputes are carried out in shorthand.

But at least once a day it is important for a family come back to home base. Here, in the presence of some other voice—someone who might have written these words many years ago—they are physiologically, psychologically, emotionally, socially and intellectually reminded that they are one organism as well as three separate organisms, and this provides a safe place for them to go at it again—as they will the very next day.

For education requires launching off into the world, and for best results, we need to come home and be reconnected. Once a day is not too often, and what better vehicle than a good story?

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2 Responses to “An Educational Summer”

  1. Bob Kniffin August 13, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    Hi Rick – another good read, Quick update since NCCS. We just returned from a wonderful 2 weeks in Alaska. Margot will spent 3rd year (’11-’12) at Stanford so we may get out there yet. All is well “back east”. Knif

  2. Dawn Morris July 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Your granddaughters are so lucky to have such an extraordinary grandparent! Reading together is such a wonderful way for family members of all ages to not only enjoy quality time together, learning all the way, but to open all new doors and windows of communication too.

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