We have a little shelf in the kitchen where we have always kept a few kids cookbooks and some favorite foodie-fiction (green eggs anyone?). Oh, and our gardening book (see here and here) is at home here too, in case we need some "fruit of the earth" ideas.
Jack has taken to pulling out his cookbooks, Pretend Soup and Salad People when hungry and "reading" through the recipes. These cookbooks actually make great early reading books. The picture cues give just enough (but not too much) info; there are words that repeat throughout like stir, cup, and mix; and each recipe ends with a hearty "EAT!" which Jack loves to exclaim. They're tasty too, and totally do-able for can-do kids.
Yesterday at lunch time, Jack pulled one out and decided to make "Bagel Faces." And (with a little set up), he got to work, made it himself, and nibbled a ton of veggies while creating his Bagel Guy.
Of course, he ate every last bite.
Later, he went back to his book and chose a recipe for dinner, Tiny Tacos. Same deal: I just did a little set up and he assembled the rest himself. Another recipe read, another meal cooked, another clean plate.
I never thought of it before, but cookbooks make such reinforcing reading. Kids are deliciously rewarded for their reading efforts. What a great way to make the connection between reading, and learning, and doing. And hey, maybe someday Jack will be cooking for me. (I wonder if he's ready to tackle Thanksgiving dinner yet? Wishful thinking!)
Are your kids fond of reading anything unexpected?
Around here, we've had a recent explosion into reading and writing. That's how it is with these things. You're just plugging along, doing the same stuff you always do (reading many, many, many books; playing alphabet games; rhyming; pointing out all kinds of print; play-writing... you know the drill) and then POW! all the pieces start coming together. That's where we're at right now. It's an exciting (and exhausting!) time full of many discoveries, some frustrations, and far more questions than I can possibly answer. All of a sudden, the world is a code that my son is trying to crack. And boy does he have an insatiable appetite for challenge!
He gets a great big kick out of the little notes that I am leaving for him around the house. My favorite spot to leave a message for him is on a little chalkboard I put right where he washes his hands (and hey, if it makes handwashing ever-so-slightly more appealing, then it's twice as nice). Every time he visits the sink he is greeted with a cheery note. After he washes his hands, he erases the message with a tiny rag, leaving me a "clean slate" on which to leave my next Mommy-memo.
We also started writing lunchbox love notes to Daddy. This is such a sweet ritual. It is so motivating and a great way for him to communicate to his father that he is thinking about him when he is at work.
So there you have it, the news from our house. Mommy-memos and lunchbox love notes. Short and oh-so-very sweet.
Do you have any little reading and writing rituals to share?
There's been a lot of talk about growing this spring. Everything we planted last year is growing -- roses, hydrangeas, honeysuckle, a birch tree. Our moonflower seedlings are finally popping up, slowly but surely. Our caterpillars are in their cocoons, waiting for wings. And Jack's little sister is growing in my belly, getting ready for her day in the sun this summer.
To continue the growing theme we read The Carrot Seed and planted some carrot seeds of our own. It's a book about growing, but also about faith, and patience, and waiting. And caretaking. What great lessons for a soon-to-be big brother.
Sprinkling the tiny seeds was a challenge for his little fingers.
Then there was backfilling, spraying, and finally, making a tag for the seeds.
And, after about 10 days of loving care from Jack (constant spraying, placing on sunny windowsills, kind and encouraging words) seedlings emerged.
Not to exhaust a metaphor, but I must say that I LOVE to pair a book with an activity. Books are the seeds of many great ideas. And it's just amazing when children make the connection between ideas and actions. It's a big deal to learn that anything you can imagine, you can create. That's the seed of writing too. And probably one of the secrets for growing a great life as well.
What books inspire you or your child to SPRING into action?