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Reading Opportunities Everywhere – Part 1

Reading tips for school

by Kerri Charette

Reading Opportunities are Everywhere
I was at the grocery store one day and noticed two items on my list that I did not place there.  My large chain supermarket does not stock pee and poop, at least not that I know of. Coincidentally, the night before five-year-old Matt had drawn a poop and pee pizza with extra onions. I think I know who the culprit was.

What is Reading?
Reading can be defined as gaining meaning from text. Yetta Goodman, Regents Professor of Education at the University of Arizona and one of the top early literacy experts in the country, states that “the daily literacy activities that often occur incidentally in the home help children learn about literacy as much as story reading and journal writing do.” (I Already Know How to Read, Heinemann, 1996).  Goodman, who invented the term kidwatching, encourages teachers to be  observers of the language and learning development of their students (www.u.arizona.edu). 
Parents, too, need to be kidwatchers by embracing every opportunity to provide opportunities for young learners to make connections between print and meaning.   What can be a seemingly insignificant conversation takes on new meaning when the adult is a kidwatcher. For example, when my friend’s family passes large golden arches, both daughters (ages two and four), start singing, "Ba-da-da-dah I’m lovin’ it."  These girls are connecting the large M with the commercial they know so well. Distressing?  Not to a kidwatcher!
My son  was two years old when we pulled up in front of Wal-Mart and Chris  pointed at the "M" in the store’s name.  I will never forget what he then yelled: "M for MOMMY!"  Could my child, at two years of age, read?  Yes, if we view reading as gaining meaning from print.
Bio for Kerri Charette

Kerri Charette is editor of Misadventures of Moms and Disasters of Dads, a parenting humor collection published by Moms In Print.  She is mother to five children: three boys (nine, eight, four) and two girls (three and two).   Kerri is a former kindergarten teacher, president of the local women’s club, committee chair on the PTO and a religious education teacher.  Kerri hosts a weekly cable television show, Families in the Making

, that brings awareness to adoption issues and is seen throughout Southern Connecticut.  Kerri holds an undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Connecticut (1992) and a masters degree in teaching reading and language arts (1999) from Eastern Connecticut State University. Learn more about the Misadventures of Moms and Disasters of Dads anthology series at: www.misadventuresofmoms.com.

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