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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>2bluefish</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I *do* feel that 5 years old is too young for Pride and Prejudice. It is a book about scorned love, defamed honor, virginity questioned... - NOT topics I want my 5 year old wrestling with...</div>
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I have no doubt that this is appropriate for <i>your</i> five-year-old, but will you do me the courtesy of admitting that a blanket statement ("I do feel that five years old is too young") is not appropriate for <i>all</i> families?<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I do agree that many people have trouble with irony and tone - I find I have to tone down my writing when I write in alot of forums for example, because people misread *everything*. But then again, I think being multi-dialectal is a useful social skill. Let's face it - not everyone is an academic, and it would be very stressful to live in this world if everyone was! Had a professor once tell me, "if your not a snob, what are you doing in academia?"</td>
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I think it goes beyond being an academic snob and further into basic issues of communication. How many times on this board -- hardly an academic forum as a whole, although we often touch on academic topics -- have I seen someone completely misread or misunderstand someone else's post, particularly if that person were being sarcastic and their statements, to any educated reader, were clearly humorous in nature? Sorry if the "educated reader" sounds snobby, but I think it genuinely is an issue of <i>education</i>: if you're not educated to read for tone, if you're only functionally literate and can decode but not genuinely probe below the surface of what you read, if what you read sounds like it's being read tonelessly by Stephen Hawking, then no, I don't believe you're genuinely "educated" in this academic area.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brigianna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Also, somewhat off-topic, I think if you're going to criticize what trashy novels like "Junie B. Jones" do to kids' reading and thinking abilities, I think you should criticize newspapers, too. Newspapers are full of poor grammar, misspellings, bad geography, and, what annoys me the most, blatant logical fallacies. And many teachers *encourage* their students to read newspapers to "be informed." But no wonder people (as a whole) have no critical thinking ability when major newspapers make "Junie B. Jones" look like insightful literature. Personally, I would rather my kids read "Junie B. Jones" which can be dismissed as silly stories than most major newspapers which are presented as serious and informative.</div>
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How dare you criticize USA Today!!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>eilonwy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is a teacher error, not a student one. An interpretation can't be "wrong," it can only be different.</div>
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I agree wholeheartedly. I had one kid -- let's call him Bob -- who was really funky: either he'd be completely brilliant or completely off-the-wall, so I never knew which it would be when he opened his mouth. One day, we were talking about <i>Macbeth</i> when he said, "Miss, what's all this milk stuff going on in this play?"<br><br>
My first thought: Bob, get off the drugs.<br><br>
What I actually said was, "I'm not sure what you mean, Bob -- can you clarify??" He responded by pointing out the five or six times in this play where characters make reference to milk or milk products:<br><br>
"He is too full o' the milk of human kindness..."<br>
"I would, while [my baby] was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out..."<br>
"Whey-face...cream-faced loon"<br><br>
...and so on. I was stunned, because I'd read this play a zillion times, but clearly, this was a strong motif. We spent the rest of the time talking about what milk symbolized, what that symbol was saying about the characters, the author's point in putting it in the play, and so on -- heck, I could've written a great graduate paper on this subject alone and probably have gotten it endorsed by the La Leche League: Milk and Feminism in Shakespeare's <i>Macbeth</i>.<br><br>
The lesson was one I learned: Never discount what a student says as "wrong." Give them a chance to explain and ya might learn something.<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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Some teachers don't know how to think outside of the book; maybe they weren't read to enough as children. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mischievous.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="mischief"></td>
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Hee, hee...<br><br><br>
I have to agree with you on this one. Given the choice between my mom's local paper and a Junie B. Jones book, I'll give my niece J.B.J. every time. The thing is, those aren't the only choices. ChibiChibi is reading <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0060278919%2Fsr%3D8-10%2Fqid%3D1150467272%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_10%2F103-5024053-8640637%3F_encoding%3DUTF8" target="_blank">A Little Princess</a>, (not this one; it's a different, unabridged version) <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0064471101%2Fqid%3D1150467407%2Fsr%3D2-1%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_b_2_1%2F103-5024053-8640637%3Fs%3Dbooks%26v%3Dglance%26n%3D283155" target="_blank">The Magician's Nephew</a>, and something else that just slipped my mind but is another classic work of children's literature. She loves the news, and wants to be informed (I did too, at her age) but is discouraged from reading the local paper for the reasons that you mentioned. Instead, she can go to the library and read the New York Times, or read news magazines. She enjoys Dateline, 20/20, and 60 Minutes, and last week she found out about NPR and that just blew her away ("You have the news in your <i>car</i>?!? That's so freaking <i>cool</i>!!"). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> There are more choices out there than crappy books and local newspapers.[/QUOTE]
 

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Nope. Not overrated at all. I too know too many families where they don't even have a small collection of books.<br><br>
Books are knowledge. Kids need to learn that at an early age. They need to be read to and they need to see us reading for pleasure.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>eilonwy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is a teacher error, not a student one. An interpretation can't be "wrong," it can only be different. I had this problem in English class as well, not with my teachers (who were, for the most part, very interested in hearing different interpretations of whatever we were reading) but with standardized tests (i.e. my A.P. American Lit exam). My life experiences were different, so I often interpreted things differently. I was somewhat outspoken, but after every single AmLit class, at least one student would come up to me and say, "I totally agree with you about X, I thought it was very Y" or "I never thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense." My teacher was young and dynamic (very popular with students) and was always waiting to see what I'd say next, because it was rarely what was traditionally taught. When I got questions "wrong" on his tests, if I could explain my answers he'd give me the points, and in fact we often debated test answers in class the following day (he offered everyone the same opportunity).</div>
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You had better teachers than mine, I guess. I think a couple of mine had very strong "agenda" biases. But even some of what y'all are talking about would never occur to me, like "Moby Dick" being at all phallic. Things like that would never enter my mind. So I do think there's a certain element of innate ability, although I'm sure that being a reader helps.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Some teachers don't know how to think outside of the book; maybe they weren't read to enough as children. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mischievous.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="mischief"></i></td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Or they don't read themselves. There are a lot of teachers, English teachers no less, who are non-readers.<br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>I have to agree with you on this one. Given the choice between my mom's local paper and a Junie B. Jones book, I'll give my niece J.B.J. every time. The thing is, those aren't the only choices. ChibiChibi is reading</i> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0060278919%2Fsr%3D8-10%2Fqid%3D1150467272%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_10%2F103-5024053-8640637%3F_encoding%3DUTF8" target="_blank"><i>A Little Princess</i></a><i>, (not this one; it's a different, unabridged version)</i> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0064471101%2Fqid%3D1150467407%2Fsr%3D2-1%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_b_2_1%2F103-5024053-8640637%3Fs%3Dbooks%26v%3Dglance%26n%3D283155" target="_blank"><i>The Magician's Nephew</i></a><i>, and something else that just slipped my mind but is another classic work of children's literature. She loves the news, and wants to be informed (I did too, at her age) but is discouraged from reading the local paper for the reasons that you mentioned. Instead, she can go to the library and read the New York Times, or read news magazines. She enjoys Dateline, 20/20, and 60 Minutes, and last week she found out about NPR and that just blew her away ("You have the news in your car?!? That's so freaking cool!!"). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> There are more choices out there than crappy books and local newspapers.</i></td>
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Right, I wasn't defending JBJ by any means. But I think that as a whole, newspapers (and TV news) are more corrosive to the critical thinking ability than trashy novels. And it's not just local papers, but influential national papers too. Even NPR, which I usually like, has a lot of the same logical fallacies. But my only point was that non-thinking is promoted by so many sources that I don't think trashy kids' books have that much effect one way or the other.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Charles Baudelaire</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How dare you criticize USA Today!!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"></div>
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It's not just "USA Today," although they're probably the worst offender, but it's also "the New York Times," "the Washington Post," and others. Maybe not the misspellings and grammatical errors, but certainly the logical fallacies and conflation of unrelated things.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Charles Baudelaire</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree wholeheartedly. I had one kid -- let's call him Bob -- who was really funky: either he'd be completely brilliant or completely off-the-wall, so I never knew which it would be when he opened his mouth. One day, we were talking about <i>Macbeth</i> when he said, "Miss, what's all this milk stuff going on in this play?"<br><br>
My first thought: Bob, get off the drugs.<br><br>
What I actually said was, "I'm not sure what you mean, Bob -- can you clarify??" He responded by pointing out the five or six times in this play where characters make reference to milk or milk products:<br><br>
"He is too full o' the milk of human kindness..."<br>
"I would, while [my baby] was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out..."<br>
"Whey-face...cream-faced loon"<br><br>
...and so on. I was stunned, because I'd read this play a zillion times, but clearly, this was a strong motif. We spent the rest of the time talking about what milk symbolized, what that symbol was saying about the characters, the author's point in putting it in the play, and so on -- heck, I could've written a great graduate paper on this subject alone and probably have gotten it endorsed by the La Leche League: Milk and Feminism in Shakespeare's <i>Macbeth</i>.<br><br>
The lesson was one I learned: Never discount what a student says as "wrong." Give them a chance to explain and ya might learn something.</div>
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You sound like a really thoughtful teacher. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> So what *does* milk symbolize? Childhood innocence (my first guess)?
 

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So, somewhat off topic, but does anyone have any advice for improving critical thinking skills? I know mine are sorely lacking. I know I'm easily swayed by cunningly-worded arguments. When I was in high school, I worked for a family who ran a business selling homeschool materials (they were homeschoolers), and with my employee discount, I bought a small "Introductory Logic" workbook. (I saw a piece on the news one night about the lack of critical thinking/logic skills being taught in the classroom and was swayed by their presentation <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> of one teacher's thoughts on it -- this teacher offered courses as an extra curricular activity, I believe.) That, however, didn't really do much for me.<br><br>
I had an English teacher in high school who would accept alternate interpretations from students -- but only if they were very well thought out and eloquently defended.<br><br>
CB, you sometimes remind me of her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> She was a great teacher. Though I've never forgiven her for marking my spelling of "programme" as wrong and telling me I must be getting mixed up with French when I told her it was the British (and therefore quite acceptable in Canada) spelling.
 

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<a href="http://www2.sjsu.edu/depts/itl/" target="_blank">I think this is free</a>...<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brisen</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So, somewhat off topic, but does anyone have any advice for improving critical thinking skills? .</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Charles Baudelaire</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">but will you do me the courtesy of admitting that a blanket statement ("I do feel that five years old is too young") is not appropriate for <i>all</i> families?</div>
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Surely won't. I stand by my opinion. If you want to introduce adult topics to your children at young ages, go ahead, but I don't have to agree with the appropriateness or morality of that - sorry. I made a statement of personal philosophy, not a blanket statement of truth.<br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Charles Baudelaire</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it goes beyond being an academic snob and further into basic issues of communication.</div>
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Most English speakers are multi-dialectal. Those formally educated learn a specific dialect. I don't happen to think being an "educated reader" is a requirement for life. I do agree that it helps in some social circles. If writers in a non-academic forum misunderstand tone, then perhaps the burden of responsibility lies with the writer to use a more appropriate dialect?<br><br>
Certainly there is a difference between "functionally literate" and an "educated reader" - however, I wouldn't make the blanket statement that all readers need to be educated readers. We are all have our gifts *and* our handicaps.
 

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Thanks, PumpkinSeeds!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mykdsmomy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Ok, I know that reading is super important and obviously reading to your child is essential however, do you think they overdo the whole "read read read til your blue in the face?" The commercials, billboards, radio commercials, PSA's.....</div>
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No, I do not think the campaign to <b>read to your child</b> is over done at all. The only place I see the signs are at the public library (celebrity photos) and I only saw those in NYC, not even here in CA. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mykdsmomy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">what about the kids that dont have a zest for reading?</div>
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What about them? The campaign isn't about "forcing" kids to read. It's about encouraging parents to read TO their children.<br><br>
Many posters on this thread (my original post was lost <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: when I was composing it, days ago. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> ) believe, as I do, that not enough parents actually read to their children. That's sad! Reading aloud is a joy for both me and my children. I'm happy to do it!<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mykdsmomy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Are you supposed to push the issue? I just wonder because I didnt push reading with my kindergartener and he is reading better than my 1st grader (K is hs'd and 1st is in ps) What do you mamas think of the reading campaign??</div>
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I don't believe in pushing kids to learn to read before they are ready.<br><br>
I do believe that reading aloud shows them that reading is pleasurable and will encourage them to do it, when they are ready to pick it up.<br><br>
My Kindergartner is just learning to read a few words, but I'm not worried that he's not "reading" yet. He will learn.<br><br>
BABIES - the sooner you read aloud to babies, the better.<br><br>
Ever hear of Jim Trelease? He is a national speaker and author on the importance of reading aloud.<br><br><a href="http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/" target="_blank">http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/</a><br><br>
Read his link on the <b>32 million word difference between rich and poverty kids</b><br><a href="http://tinyurl.com/9t5cn" target="_blank">http://tinyurl.com/9t5cn</a><br><br>
When I heard him say that at Parent Talk, I was stunned! Basically, researchers followed three different types of families (rich, middle class, poor) and tape recorded everything said to the children from 7 months of age to 4 years old. By 4 years old, there were dramatic differences between the families.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">When the daily number of words for each group of children was projected across four years, the four-year-old child from the professional family will have heard 45 million words, the working class child 26 million, and the welfare child only 13 million. <b>All three children will show up for kindergarten on the same day, but one will have heard 32 million fewer words—which is a gigantic difference.</b><br><br>
None of this has anything to do with how much a parent loves a child. They all love their children and want the best for them, but some parents have a better idea of what needs to be said and done to reach that best. They know the child needs to repeatedly hear words in meaningful sentences and questions, and they know that plunking a two-year-old down in front of a television set for three hours at a time is more harmful than meaningful. <b>In a few short years, when it is time to read, those numbers will play a big role, for the frequency with which a child has met a word will affect how quickly he can decode it and understand it.</b></td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/offtopic.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="offtopic"><br><br>
And... I remember him saying that Junie B. Jones (and some of you will hate this, including me!) is one of the best things to happen to literature, probably because it encourages children who otherwise would never pick up a book, to pick up the book and finish it!
 

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I HATE being read to and have for as long as I could read on my own.<br><br>
I also hate reading out loud. I HATE it.<br><br>
I read to my dd's before they could read well. At some point each has asked to stop. They like me have expressed that it feels too slow, they want to get through the story on their own.<br><br>
So I think it is a good helpful thing and a joy for many. But not us anymore.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">When the daily number of words for each group of children was projected across four years, the four-year-old child from the professional family will have heard 45 million words, the working class child 26 million, and the welfare child only 13 million. All three children will show up for kindergarten on the same day, but one will have heard 32 million fewer words—which is a gigantic difference.</td>
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So shouldn't the point be to *talk* with your children? There are plenty of ways to talk with kids besides reading to them...<br><br>
dar
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brisen</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">For those looking for audio stories --<br><br><a href="http://www.homeschoolradioshows.com" target="_blank">www.homeschoolradioshows.com</a><br><br><a href="http://www.kiddierecords.com" target="_blank">www.kiddierecords.com</a> (Not all are PC -- some very much not so -- they are "classic" stories from the 1940s and 1950s. Just a warning.)<br><br><a href="http://www.lightupyourbrain.com/stories.html" target="_blank">www.lightupyourbrain.com/stories.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.robertmunsch.com/storytime.cfm" target="_blank">http://www.robertmunsch.com/storytime.cfm</a></div>
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Thanks for the links!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dar</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So shouldn't the point be to *talk* with your children? There are plenty of ways to talk with kids besides reading to them...</div>
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Talking is great, but I'm not a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.<br><br><a href="http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/rah_chpt1_p2.html" target="_blank">http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/rah_chpt1_p2.html</a><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">We read to children for all the same reasons you talk with children: to reassure, to entertain, to bond; to inform or explain, to arouse curiosity, to inspire. <b>But in reading aloud, you also:</b><br><br>
- Condition the child's brain to associate reading with pleasure;<br>
- <b>Create background knowledge;<br>
- Build vocabulary;</b><br>
- Provide a reading role model.</td>
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With reading, I can introduce my son to other stories (King Arthur, for example) concepts, & vocabulary that I just don't have inside my wee head.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tanibani</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Talking is great, but I'm not a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.<br><br>
With reading, I can introduce my son to other stories (King Arthur, for example) concepts, & vocabulary that I just don't have inside my wee head.</div>
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This made me sad. You don't have to be a walking encyclopedia of knowledge - there are things in your head that are just as meaningful to your child as the books you read to him. I have plenty of things in my head that I think are worth sharing with my kid, and after 13 years I still find new ones. Some are things I myself have read, others are things that have happened to me, and others are just thoughts I have. My vocabulary is certainly more extensive that the vocabulary in children's books. I don't see how books would have better background knowledge for a child than my own head would, and unlike books, I can individualize the things I say to perfectly meet the needs of exactly one child: mine.<br><br>
Most of the reading aloud that I did do (and after I told her about this thread, Rain opined that I had read to her "all the time" when she was little, so perhaps I read aloud more than I remember) wasn't about gaining knowledge; it was about sharing stories that I thought she'd enjoy. The background knowledge was incidental, and she gained background knowledge through every thing that she did - talking, tv, movies, visiting people, going places, and more - as well as by being read to or reading to herself.<br><br>
I'm not against reading - both of us have always done a lot of it, together and separately - but I object to the worshipping of reading that I see in the PSAs, and also on this thread.<br><br>
dar
 

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Then I guess we are just going to have to agree to disagree Dar. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pookel</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I didn't say there was anything wrong with reading to them. A lot of people here are talking about reading to their kids even after their kids know how to read. I just don't see the point of that. If it's really fun for my kids, and they ask for it, I can accommodate them - but reading aloud to them will never be my default choice.<br><br>
My son is only 14 months, but he doesn't like being read to and won't sit still for it. Nor will he go off and play while passively listening to me. If I'm reading out loud, then he will get annoyed because I'm looking at the book and doing what I want to do instead of doing what *he* wants to do and playing with him.<br><br>
For people who enjoy reading out loud to their kids and who have kids who like listening to it, great. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I just don't think that reading aloud is as important for everyone as some people here seem to think.</div>
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I think that one of the important aspects of reading aloud has been the discussions about the material. Tonight read a folktale about a Persian princess to my dd, who read quite well on her own. We talked about the magic involved. What the princess might have been thinking. What we might have done if we were in her situation.<br><br>
While she brings up questions from her independent reading. Our discussions are never as in depth as when we read it aloud. Perhaps when she is older we will switch to a more book group type experience. But for now, reading aloud is a way to delve deeper into a story than reading on one's own.<br><br>
Even when she was a toddler and young preschooler, reading opened new areas for exploration. We could read about rainforest animals, then pretend to go on a rainforest adventure. Or we could read different versions of Cinderella, then combine the stories and add our interpretations.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brigianna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You had better teachers than mine, I guess. I think a couple of mine had very strong "agenda" biases. But even some of what y'all are talking about would never occur to me, like "Moby Dick" being at all phallic. Things like that would never enter my mind. So I do think there's a certain element of innate ability, although I'm sure that being a reader helps.</div>
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I've quoted this passage before from Melville's novel, but let's just say two things:<br><br>
1. I don't think it requires a lot of innate ability to see what's goin' on here, <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> and<br><br>
2. It sure puts the <i>Dick</i> in <i>Moby-Dick</i>. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> In this passage, Ishmael and the crew are squeezing the spermaceti from the whale:<br><br><i>It had cooled and crystallized to such a degree, that when, with several others, I sat down before a large Constantine's bath of it, I found it strangely concreted into lumps, here and there rolling about in the liquid part. It was our business to squeeze these lumps back into fluid. A sweet and unctuous duty! no wonder that in old times this sperm was such a favorite cosmetic. Such a clearer! such a sweetener! such a softener! such a delicious mollifier! After having my hands in it for only a few minutes, my fingers felt like eels, and began, as it were, to serpentine and spiralize. As I sat there at my ease, cross-legged on the deck; after the bitter exertion at the windlass; under a blue tranquil sky; the ship under indolent sail, and gliding so serenely along; as I bathed my hands among those soft, gentle globules of infiltrated tissues, woven almost within the hour; as <b>they richly broke to my fingers, and discharged all their opulence, like fully ripe grapes their wine; as I snuffed up that uncontaminated aroma, --literally and truly, like the smell of spring violets; I declare to you, that for the time I lived as in a musky meadow</b>; I forgot all about our horrible oath; in that inexpressible sperm, I washed my hands and my heart of it; I almost began to credit the old Paracelsan superstition that sperm is of rare virtue in allaying the heat of anger: while bathing in that bath, I felt divinely free from all ill-will, or petulence, or malice, of any sort whatsoever. <b>Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules</b>. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that <b>at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say, --Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves ( page 415 ) into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness</b>.</i><br><br>
Sorry, I have to go and have a cigarette now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brigianna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So what *does* milk symbolize? Childhood innocence (my first guess)?</div>
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Yes, absolutely. And nurture, love, caring for another human being, the perpetuation and continuation of life, the uniquely feminine, maternal quality of sustaining an infant. Macbeth, we learn, "has no children," and Lady Mac says she would slam her child's brains out, so in many ways, it's a play about perverted femininity and masculinity -- they're unable to bring forth life, so they kill. Just a thought.
 
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