While growing up, my father and grandfather were both printers. As a girl who loved the printed word, I found this to be a fitting heritage. It is true; I am one of those peculiar people who take pleasure in smelling books. I savour them, really. I can still distinctly recall the scent of my third grade social studies book.
I do read books on my Kindle app today, but if I particularly want to spend my time as with a friend, I hold a book in my hand, and flip its pages, taking in either the musty or crisp aroma. Charlie Bucket, Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls, Emily Byrd Starr, then later Alyosha, Antonia, Jo March and Levin. They are all dear friends. I cannot imagine growing up without them. And so it seems appropriate that I should begin a blog dealing largely with literature.
Literature-based learning is simply engaging in authentic activities based on the book’s themes or details. Instead of asking children comprehension questions or providing a young child with a color page, we pay attention to where our child’s eye is naturally drawn in a picture book, or what older children repeatedly mention in a book discussion.
My three-year-old, G, has always loved books. From an extremely early age he would follow the text along with his finger from left to right. He is completely engaged in his stories and loves to create his own. It is not difficult to take his lead in creating enrichment activities and pre-reading exercises. However, I believe this approach to children’s literature will also engage the reluctant reader and fidgety child.
G sometimes picks out books for us to “study,” but not always. We like thoughtful story lines with beautiful, detailed illustrations. G often surprises me with all the tiny, background details he notices, and how he is eager for his vocabulary to expand. We read our chosen book every day, sometimes more than once, for a week or so. During this time G and I delve into preschool science projects, literacy activities, geography lessons and field trips, all based on this particular book.
Most of all, we have fun. Literature is by far my favorite thing to share with all three of my boys. I still read to A and S, although they have been literate for years. I have even caught them smelling a book or two. Yes, curling up with a good book is my favorite thing to do with my guys. Well, maybe besides getting a hug.