Reading with a pre-K class teaches us many things. For starters, it is a lesson in patience, for everyone. At this age, we are still learning the rules of listening and speaking, and listening to a story in a large group can look very different to listening to a story in the lap of your parents. We have to learn to “hold our thoughts in our head” until we reach the appropriate time to talk, and then we have to learn when that appropriate time to talk is. We are also learning the difference between a comment and a question, not an easy feat at this age.
I could tell you what we learn about the rules of print – how the letters and words flow from left to right, and how the pages all turn in the same direction. I could explain how we begin to comprehend the concepts of beginning, middle, end and understand the meaning of words like plot, characters, and setting. I could tell you that we are working on logical thinking, problem solving, picking up on visual cues, reading character’s expressions, understanding the nuances of conversation, and even listening for tone…but really, I just want to convey that we love books, and we love to read, and we get a great deal of our community spirit from this activity each day.
While we read we are building relationships, creating connections with each other, recognizing things we have in common, as well as things that we don’t. We learn about what different people have done, where they have been, what they have experienced, and what they would like to do in the future. During longer stories we use sign language for “me too” to show that we have a connection without disrupting the flow of the story. Sometimes I may ask the children directly if they identify with the character with a quick “put your finger on your nose if you have been to New York City too.” Sometimes we have to clarify the difference between fantasy and reality. :)
So, if you have a moment and would like to share a favorite story from your own childhood, come on in…any day…any time…and we will stop what we are doing and join together for a magical moment with you and your book!