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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...<br><br>
dar</div>
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I would say yes, but with a few meaningful exceptions. For one, the everyday vocabulary we use to speak to each other tends to be much more functional than the vocabulary a story uses. Story vocabulary (from a well-written work, that is), tends to be richer and more descriptive than our everyday vocabulary, because few of us would say, "See how the road stretches ahead of us like a meandering gray ribbon?"<br><br>
The second issue is that for some speakers, their vocabulary itself is very limited. I am sure that, minute for minute, the welfare speakers (not to diss people on welfare; I'm using the example above) spoke as many <i>minutes</i> to their children as the college-educated people did, but used a more limited vocabulary.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dar</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My vocabulary is certainly more extensive that the vocabulary in children's books.</div>
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Yes, Dar, when it comes to babies, I am convinced the problem is not lack of reading but lack of *talking*. Many people do not talk to their babies, and they do not *expect* their babies to communicate in oral language. Look around at Wal-mart and see how children communicate. I was cringing the other day at a whining toddler, thinking - oh I hope my baby never does that. Then I realized *she doesn't need to do that*. She can have my attention whenever she needs it. She can communicate her needs with words. If she starts whining, I tell her to stop and use English. I don't speak in baby talk to my baby. I speak in complete sentences - perhaps emphasizing key words that I know she knows well. And my expectation is that she can listen, understand, and make a decent attempt at communicating back (with some allowance made for hunger and sleepiness of course).<br><br>
We haven't even really gone into people who use the TV as a babysitter all day long. Starting at babyhood we see people who plob their babies down in one contraption or another for most of the day and hardly interact with them.<br><br>
And this is the point I made pages ago. The reading out loud is most important for those least likely to do it - those people who don't interact with their children to begin with.<br><br>
In all my applied linguistics courses, foreign language education courses, language acquisition courses... reading and writing was always considered secondary to oral language development. Oral fluency in a language is the most difficult to acheive - when you can speak well, writing comes *fairly* easily (on a functional level, maybe not on an artistic level). But if you write well, speaking does not neccesarily come easily. Conversely *listening* is a very important skill - so if you don't have the parenting skills to foster listening and communication with your child, then having children sit and listen while you read is the next best thing.<br><br>
Not to say their aren't benefits to reading out loud and independently as have been presented here. But my professional opinion is that there are many ways to learn a language and build vocabulary and reading is not neccesarily the best way to build overall mastery. There are many people who can write beautifully in multiple languages, but couldn't deliver a good speech unless it was written out word for word.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>2bluefish</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yes, Dar, when it comes to babies, I am convinced the problem is not lack of reading but lack of *talking*. Many people do not talk to their babies, and they do not *expect* their babies to communicate in oral language. Look around at Wal-mart and see how children communicate. I was cringing the other day at a whining toddler, thinking - oh I hope my baby never does that. Then I realized *she doesn't need to do that*. She can have my attention whenever she needs it.</div>
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I agree with your first sentence, but disagree with the whining toddler = unmet needs theory. I think most toddlers whine at some point. And I know this is unusual, but my oldest didn't speak until he was 22 months old even though he was extensively read to and spoken to. He used to say, "dah" and point to things and also make grunting noises. OTOH, he could point out a wide variety of pictures and letters in books long before then, but his expressive speech had not developed yet. If you speak to your child and read extensively to him/her, it would not necessarily create early speech. Girls often have much earlier expressive speech than boys. So I don't agree with that part of what you're saying.<br><br>
BUT I do agree with your statement that many people don't seem to talk to their babies. I spoke to mine frequently since they were born. I'd chat about the most mundane things like, "Can you believe this line is moving so slow? I was hoping we'd have time to make the Post Office." People gave me funny looks sometimes. LOL. I used to explain how the washing machine worked when I'd load it up with baby on my hip. I spoke to my babies frequently and I did not water down my speech for them. It does seem like many people don't speak to their baby and many people speak to children in a very patronising way. I think that if people spoke to their babies like they were regular people, that it would be very beneficial in the long-run.<br><br>
Edited for clarification after a reread: I think children should be read to more AND spoken to more. I think that when people speak to their babies/children, they should speak to them like adults. I think that when people read to their children, they should often bypass the commercial character and Leapfrog type books and go to books with richer language. There are many short picture books with beautiful language in them. For example, we read a train picture book once (called, "Train" I think) that described the movements of the passengers with words like, "ambling". Yet, it was short and colorful enough to grab a small child's attention. End of edit.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LeftField</strong></div>
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BUT I do agree with your statement that many people don't seem to talk to their babies. I spoke to mine frequently since they were born. I'd chat about the most mundane things like, "Can you believe this line is moving so slow? I was hoping we'd have time to make the Post Office." People gave me funny looks sometimes. LOL. I used to explain how the washing machine worked when I'd load it up with baby on my hip. I spoke to my babies frequently and I did not water down my speech for them. It does seem like many people don't speak to their baby and many people speak to children in a very patronising way. I think that if people spoke to their babies like they were regular people, that it would be very beneficial in the long-run.<br><br>
Edited for clarification after a reread: I think children should be read to more AND spoken to more. I think that when people speak to their babies/children, they should speak to them like adults. I think that when people read to their children, they should often bypass the commercial character and Leapfrog type books and go to books with richer language. There are many short picture books with beautiful language in them. For example, we read a train picture book once (called, "Train" I think) that described the movements of the passengers with words like, "ambling". Yet, it was short and colorful enough to grab a small child's attention. End of edit.</div>
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Adding on to this, when people speak to their older children, they often oversimplify or out-and-out patronize them both in tone and vocabulary to the point where I find it very cringeworthy. I'd rather give an explanation to my kid in basically the same way I would to an adult, using much the same language and clarifying when necessary -- even if it's "too much information." Whatever THAT is. For example, I used the term "gaslighting" in a conversation yesterday, and my dd interrupted and said, "What's 'gaslighting'?" I replied, "That's a term taken from a movie from the 1940s, when Gran was a girl, with Ingrid Bergman. She plays a woman who's married to a wicked man who's trying to steal her jewels, which he's looking for up in her attic. To prevent her from figuring out how evil he is, he makes her believe that she's going crazy, like saying, 'Paula, where is the necklace? Have you lost it? Don't you even remember?' and so on..."<br><br>
Anyway, my friends interrupted and said, "Oh, my God...too much information, talk about over-answering a question!"<br><br>
My dd, on the other hand, said, "Oh, yeah -- I've seen that movie before." She had, too, at her grandma and grandpa's over Christmas.<br><br>
In other words, I'd rather have her understand 10% of a good answer than 100% of a bad one. She'll ask me about the other 90%.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Those are great points about vocabulary - both in terms of talking to children more, using rich vocabulary, and increasing their access to a wide vocabulary through literature.<br><br>
I remember being stunned when I was probably about 6 or so, to learn that my twice-my-age cousin had no idea what a 'nosegay' was (believe it or not!), since I had frequently come across the word in a book I had about a Victorian doll...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
On the flip side, in volunteering with 6-8 year old public school kids who are having difficulty with reading, I often find that a lack of vocabulary is a big issue. A child with a broad vocabulary who is still mastering the mechanics of reading may cautiously begin sounding out a word that doesn't look familiar, then realize it matches up to a word they already know. Some of the kids I read with are unable to make those matches, because their vocabularies/experiences are so narrow.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>2bluefish</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was cringing the other day at a whining toddler, thinking - oh I hope my baby never does that. Then I realized *she doesn't need to do that*. She can have my attention whenever she needs it. She can communicate her needs with words. If she starts whining, I tell her to stop and use English.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/spitdrink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="spitdrink"><br><br>
Ok, two things:<br><br>
1) How old is your baby?<br><br>
2) Good luck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Some kids are born whiners. My daughter can have my attention whenevr she wants it. Her vocabulary is bigger than mine. I tell her to stop whining and talk to me. Yeah, she keeps whining. She's a whiner. Some kids are.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dharmamama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Ok, two things:<br><br>
1) How old is your baby?<br><br>
2) Good luck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br></div>
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<span><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I wasn't going to say anything... I never thought mine would whine either. But tired, frustrated children do sometimes whine, regardless of all the variables and urgings to be reasonable - and I must say that there have been times as an adult when I've been so tired and frustrated that I've wanted to do the same, but didn't just because of being an adult and knowing it's <i>"childish"</i>.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> - Lillian</span>
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I think that when people speak to their babies/children, they should speak to them like adults.</td>
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I think this is one of the best things we can do for our kids. Though one of my adult friends tells me from time to time my kids make him feel stupid because of their vocabularies.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">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 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.</td>
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I don't know if this helps, but iI have worked to place a high value on asking "Why do you think the way you do" and expanding that to "Why do I think the way I do?". I encourage the kids to question my reasoning ( on social/political/theoligical issues, at least) and when we see or hear ads, we deconstruct them.<br>
I remember when Matthew was 6?7? we saw "Lord of the Rings" <i>cookies</i> at the store and he asked if he could have them. I suggested he read the box. He did, and on his own concluded that these cookies really had nothing to do with Lord of the Rings, and it would be healthier and cheaper for us to make his own cookies. Score one for critical thinking!
 

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1) My 20 month old kid *is* a whiner - big time (especially when tired or hungry) BUT<br><br>
2) we've been able to keep it in check fairly well by teaching her to communicate. Perhaps I'm blessed though that she communicates well. SO I don't know if it is her ability or my expectations - probably both, right?<br><br>
ALSO I am a linguist (and an animal trainer) and used to "interpreting", so maybe I pick up on her cues - verbal and nonverbal - easier than others? When she says "wah-di", I say "wah-ter" - not in a rude, correcting fashion, with a smile and an acknowledgement of her cup or the puddle or whatever "water" she is referencing. I also respond to tantrums by saying things like "Honey, that computer keyboard is too heavy for you to pick up. Please play with it on the floor."<br><br>
When I reference "Wal-mart people", I'm thinking about the people who just ignore the screaming kid in the cart and continue on with their shopping like they don't even notice. Oh, I would be mortified if we interacted that way. Maybe the term "whining" was a little tame for the behavior I was thinking of - I was thinking of that "whiney cry" that gets under my skin so bad. I guess we probably all have those things we just can't take...<br><br>
But anyway, another thing I was thinking about is that we have 2 vocabularies - words we recognize and understand and words we can use. We usually all have larger vocabularies of words we recognize. It would be incorrect to assume that my 20 month old can't understand "that keyboard is too heavy" just because she has a small limited spoken vocabulary. Just as it would be incorrect to assume that CBs dd can't understand "gaslighting" just because she's never used the term herself. When people speak to me in Spanish, I prefer they just speak and let me listen - and then I will ask questions if I have them, rather than stopping every 2 seconds and saying "do you understand?" I might not understand every word by word, but I will understand most everything in the context of a paragraph. Anyway, rambling, the bigger that recognizable vocab, the bigger the useable vocab. The bigger the recognizable vocab, the easier it is to learn and advance in reading. In order to gain recognizable vocab, we need lot's of exposure - "read to your kid" is an easy message to send. But can't entirely make up for the benefits of frequent meaningful communication between parent and child.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>2bluefish</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">SO I don't know if it is her ability or my expectations - probably both, right?</div>
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Probably those things with a big dose of her innate personality/temperment thrown in. Not to mention her age. Talking was a lot of fun for my daughter when she first started doing it, so she didn't need a whole lot of prompting to "use her words." Now that using her words is no longer an exciting new skill, she's a lot more inclined to whine. And I don't think my daughter is unusual.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>2bluefish</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">When I reference "Wal-mart people", I'm thinking about the people who just ignore the screaming kid in the cart and continue on with their shopping like they don't even notice.</div>
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That's a topic for a totally different thread, one that seems to be rehashed in TAO every three or four months if you stick to "Wal-Mart;" If you expand to include all poor people, it's probaby every other week.<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;">But anyway, another thing I was thinking about is that we have 2 vocabularies - words we recognize and understand and words we can use. We usually all have larger vocabularies of words we recognize.</td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">: As an adult, I see no point in having words that I can't use. I often choose simpler language when I have to deal with strangers, but if I encounter a new word I'll mess with it until I can use it. I see having an extensive vocabulary of "words one can recognize/understand but not use" as a problem, one that I'd like to avoid in my children. The solution is, in my mind, to use more complex language with my children on a regular basis, so that's what I do. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> I strive not only for understanding, but for enrichment; as CB said, I'd rather have the kids understand 10% of a good explanation than 100% of a bad one; they will ask about the other 90%.<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;">In order to gain recognizable vocab, we need lot's of exposure - "read to your kid" is an easy message to send. But can't entirely make up for the benefits of frequent meaningful communication between parent and child.</td>
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I see it as providing valuable enrichment. <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Secret Garden</span> is full of beautiful language; while I have an extensive speaking vocabulary, and work very hard to incorporate less common words in while speaking to my children, I do not speak the way that Frances H. Burnett does in her books. While they're enjoying a snugglebug, they can listen to beautiful, meaningful English written in a way that I would never think to speak. It's a good thing, and I find that it adds to the number of meaningful conversations that I have with my children. BeanBean always asks questions about what we read, or stops me to discuss ideas we've encountered. BooBah's asked a few questions herself, and we've had loads of fun conversations using our bedtime reading as a starting point. I think that a lot of people see it that way; after reading a book to your child, maybe you're more inclined to sit with the child and just talk, you know? It's a good thing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>warriorprincess</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think this is one of the best things we can do for our kids. Though one of my adult friends tells me from time to time my kids make him feel stupid because of their vocabularies.</div>
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Actually (and not to be difficult) I think there is room both for "plain speaking" AND "baby talk." It doesnt have to be either/or. When babies babble, they play with language. It's called echolalia (from what I remember <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ) and it's what happens when babies repeat sounds like "ba ba ba ba ba". So, while I agree that proper syntax is important, I also think there's nothing wrong with tickling your baby's belly and and engaging in some baby baby as well.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>annettemarie</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Actually (and not to be difficult) I think there is room both for "plain speaking" AND "baby talk." It doesnt have to be either/or. When babies babble, they play with language. It's called echolalia (from what I remember <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ) and it's what happens when babies repeat sounds like "ba ba ba ba ba". So, while I agree that proper syntax is important, I also think there's nothing wrong with tickling your baby's belly and and engaging in some baby baby as well.</div>
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There's a difference between babies and preschoolers (or even toddlers, though. If Bella wakes up miserable, I might say, "Oh, poor BellaButton, doesa baby needsa nursie?" If BooBah is unhappy, I'm more likely to say, "You sound so frustrated, is something upsetting you?" (BeanBean most often offers these observations on his own, i.e. a tearful, "Oh Mamma, I'm so exhausted and irritable, everything is frustrating me today!") Sure, I'll talk to Bella about her "itty bitty baby equilibrium," but certainly not all the time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Then again, I've been told that I talk to my babies *a lot,* so maybe I'm wrong. <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;">There's a difference between babies and preschoolers (or even toddlers, though. If Bella wakes up miserable, I might say, "Oh, poor BellaButton, doesa baby needsa nursie?" If BooBah is unhappy, I'm more likely to say, "You sound so frustrated, is something upsetting you?" (BeanBean most often offers these observations on his own, i.e. a tearful, "Oh Mamma, I'm so exhausted and irritable, everything is frustrating me today!") Sure, I'll talk to Bella about her "itty bitty baby equilibrium," but certainly not all the time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Then again, I've been told that I talk to my babies *a lot,* so maybe I'm wrong. <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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Oh, I agree. I only commented because the original post that I quoted included babies as small people who needed to be spoken to as if they were adults. Babies are hard-wired to respond to high-pitched motherese.
 

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I was looking up a book on Amazon while checking this thread... The Aesop for Children. The first customer review was interesting:<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;">Although the stories are - for the most part - enjoyable, I found the prose a bit awkward and much of the vocabulary too flowery and grand for younger listeners. I got a lot of blank stares from my 6 year old as I read a few of them, and oftentimes found it necessary to reword the phrases into something simpler and easier for him to understand. Also, the morals aren't always clear. For example, "Do not be too hard to suit or you may have to be content with the worst or nothing at all". Quite a mouthful for a kindergartener to digest. Also, the moral "Do not try to ape your betters" from the Monkey and the Camel sent my son into hysterics. Like I said, it doesn't seem to really be written for the very young, unless you're prepared to stop every other sentence and define the oftentimes flowery and ill-placed vocabulary words for your child.</td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> How sad.<br><br>
That's exactly *why* I read those things to my children...
 

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To the folks that want to tell stories from the top of thier heads: Most of the Color Fairy Tale Books by Andrew Lang are available for <i>free</i> online. You know, the old ones? The <i>Blue Fairy Tale Book</i>, <i>The Green Fairy Tale Book</i>? There are also ghost stories, the Arabian Nights, and greek myths available. The fairy stories are mostly short, and easy to remember, and it wouldn't take but a minute or two at night to learn one a day or a week, and tell it to your dc. It's sort of cheating, but, hey, it works! And, it's much easier to make one up if you've got a "base" to work from.<br><br>
Or, they can be printed and read aloud.<br><br><a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/l#a79" target="_blank">http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/l#a79</a>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>glendora</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">To the folks that want to tell stories from the top of thier heads: Most of the Color Fairy Tale Books by Andrew Lang are available for <i>free</i> online. You know, the old ones? The <i>Blue Fairy Tale Book</i>, <i>The Green Fairy Tale Book</i>?...</div>
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<span>Nice! I wasn't familiar with him - just with many of the stories and with the books. I think we had one of them when my son was little. I googled it and got this link: <a href="http://www.classicreader.com/author.php/aut.151/" target="_blank">Andrew Lang</a>. I wasn't read to that much when I was little, although I did spend a lot of time with a big book of children's stories which my mother sometimes read me. But I spent a lot of time hearing fairy tales from my father. I have especially wonderful memories of sitting out under the stars with him while he told me stories. Pure bliss... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Lillian</span>
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>eilonwy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> How sad.<br><br>
That's exactly *why* I read those things to my children...</div>
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That really is pretty terrible!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 
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