What Your Kids See You Read

by Scott on December 28, 2010

George Washington Crossing The Delaware

I’ve read articles before (someone can provide links in the comments) about how important it is to have books around the house and to set an example for your kids by making sure they see you reading. But I’ve always looked at that as a general idea–just make sure they see that you read, and the magic will happen later on. Last night I got my first glimpse of how it can affect them in ways I hadn’t considered.

I’m currently reading To Try Men’s Souls, which is a historical novel about George Washington and the Continental Army’s crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776. The cover of the book features the famous painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. Yesterday afternoon, Pea was looking at the cover and asked, “Who’s that?”. I told her it was a painting of George Washington crossing a river in a boat, and the book is a story about him going across the river. She’s familiar with George Washington because she’s seen another painting of him when going over the Presidents of the United States with Ana. She immediately said, “Look Mami! Daddy’s reading a book about George Washington! He’s one of the Presidents in my pictures!” She looked through the pages for a little while before putting the book down. I assume she was looking for more pictures–that’s what I did when I was little. It didn’t take long for her to get bored and go play with something else.

We read books together before bed every night, then Pea climbs up to her top bunk and looks at books in her bed before she goes to sleep while I hang out on the bottom bunk and read.Β Last night, as she was looking at her books and going to sleep she whispered down to me, “Daddy, are you looking at the book about George Washington in the boat?”

Cool! She just made a connection between two paintings she’s seen at different times and something the person in those painting did, and it’s stuck in her memory! She also understands the that I’m reading the story (learning) about what happened from the book. Hopefully this will lead to more questions about George Washington in the future. Maybe she’ll even ask me to tell her the story.

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  • Love this πŸ™‚ I think some parents get so tied up in ways to teach their kids, they forget that modeling behaviors is the quickest, easiest way to make a point, especially when it comes to reading and learning.

    I love hearing how Pea is applying what she learned from her Bits. It is fun to see the kids make the connections beyond just learning the pictures and the names. Lucky for you, she is now modeling behavior for her baby sister to follow as well! Keep it up and I can’t wait to hear more πŸ™‚

  • Scott

    @Valerie The Bits are definitely impacting her. The other day she was watching a cartoon and said, “Look Mami! A jack-in the pulpit!” (flower).

    I could never identify that in a million years. Before the Bits, I’d never even heard of that flower. πŸ™‚

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