Lizs Book Snuggery

Picture Books and the Intellectual Foundation They Provide

Thoughts on the Remaining Days of Summer

Three leaves.  I just noticed three leaves on our back lawn. This is certainly not much, right? Plenty of summer 2013 lies ahead. Well, at least the long Labor Day weekend remains to kick back and enjoy. There’s STILL time to stick toes in the sand, have that barbecue you planned with friends and revel with the kids in the few unscheduled days remaining of summer. Yes, mom and dad, the harbingers on the lawn do signal the turn of the calendar page and cooler evenings preview the revving up of time – again.

It did get me thinking about time, though. Time, kids and of course a subject I love – picture books!

Reading them and sharing them is a treat for me and I hope for you, but back to time and testing. Testing? Where’d that come from, Liz? It’s been percolating in my head all summer as I continue to read all the rowdydow about Common Core, the low scores, the anxiety about unprepared students, teaching to the test versus content and on and on. Well, here’s what I think. Don’t worry. As a parent, you may not be the arbiter of testing in school, but at home 7 days a week, you are the gatekeeper for your young ones early reading content and that IS powerful stuff for future learning! Want to know how I arrived at this?

Recently, I read a book by noted Horn Book editor, Anita Silvey, called “100 Best Books for Children”. There are many examples of such books, but I think this is one of the best! Besides agreeing with many of her choices, I hope this blog may provoke some serious discussion about why being read to from infancy and early childhood and beyond is probably one of the most important factors in ensuring a healthy academic head start. Her Table of Content ranges from Board Books and Picture Books to Books for Older Readers. What really stood out in my mind was the belief that just as there is a sort of canon of books that most literate adults have read, so too there is a “literary heritage” in picture books that our children should not miss out on. During this shorter and shorter compression of childhood in our culture today, we need to feed their minds and imaginations with great classic picture books that are the portal to the chapter book and beyond.

Will every book your child loves be on the pages of every “Best Reads” list? Probably not, nor need they be. “Read it again” should also factor into what makes your child’s own list.

Doubling back to Common Core hoopla, reading picture books and the memories and intellectual foundation they provide, can help your child deal with meeting future standards set by schools. And in the meantime, they are filling up a memory bank that they will refer back to long after the book of their childhood is closed. And guess what? The Snuggery loves being a part of adding to the collection of books in your child’s literary heritage of picture books!   

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