This post was written by Marion Wiener and sponsored by our partners at Children’s Museum of Phoenix.
I have a great memory. It served me well when I was in school, since I could memorize whole sheets of notes and get straight A’s on all my tests. I don’t use the memorization tactic as much in adult life anymore. Now, I just like to understand things so I can talk about them coherently.
But that memorization thing could have been a bad thing for me were it not for my very wonderful, very perceptive first grade teacher. See, my memory was so good, that I memorized books just by hearing them read aloud in class. So when we were in circle time and all of us little six year olds took turns reading Fun with Dick and Jane….I read perfectly. Except I wasn’t reading the words, I just knew the entire story by heart from hearing it read previously! My teacher (thankfully!) called my mother to come into school one day, put me in front of an easel full of random words, and asked me to point to several that she named. I couldn’t. Because, frankly, I couldn’t read! Needless to say, I can read fine now, but I attribute this to the intervention my teacher provided for me. I can still memorize things, although not as well as before. I often find myself reflecting back on that moment and realize that I could have been in big trouble if my teacher hadn’t picked up on my ruse.
So where am I heading with all of this? Naturally, it is so important to expose our children to books and words. The earlier the better, as a consistent and prevalent exposure to books can help foster a love of reading at a very young age. I remember bringing my daughters home from the hospital and reading Good Night Moon to them that very first night — they were three days old. I continued to read to them at bedtime until they were about 12 years old. Now, they just devour books by themselves.
There are many ways in which you can help children develop early literacy skills and a love of reading. You can take them to the library or a theatre production or a museum. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is stocked full of literacy rich experiences, and a prominent one is coming up on March 23rd, with Kristi Yamaguchi’s Reading Adventures Literacy Festival. This fun-filled day will entertain children with readings by famous children’s book authors and celebrity guests, magic shows, and hands-on activities. The Museum has three floors of interactive exhibits and there will be special performances by Disney’s Jr.’s Choo Choo Soul “with Genevieve!” Reading Adventures is free with paid admission to the Children’s Museum, which is $11 per person (though children under the age of 1 are free). Please come check it out! It’s a day focused on the joy of reading and offers amazing opportunities for memory making.