Happy Friday to everyone not just at Gracepoint Berkeley church but across all our Gracepoint Ministries! Can you believe it’s almost May?! Today I bring you a short but sweet Reading Snapshots post from Gracepoint North Carolina.
Granted they are looking at photo albums, but you see the early literacy practices they are engaging in? Given they’re from America, they are correctly going from left to right in the books as they “read” each photo. And while I wasn’t there, I heard they were engaging in the social aspect of reading as well, showing and telling each other about the interesting and sometimes shocking things they saw, such as one’s parents’ wedding photo! 🙂
What a delightful sight to behold in an age where the kids their age I usually see are swiping screens. Remember, I always welcome your reading snapshots, since they’re crowd favorites!
Another question commonly asked of me by parents at Gracepoint Berkeley church is, “How do you become a reader?” And like many questions, the answer seems a bit too pat. Can you guess what it is? I most often say, “You become a reader…through reading.” (For those of you who figured it out from the title of the post — good test-taking skills!)
Of course there’s so much to the answer, but like other identities we grow into, it’s all in the doing. Today, I want to focus on the social aspect of reading. We often conceive of reading as a solitary activity, and while it most definitely is, from the earliest age we see that reading is very much social as well. Perhaps it is actually reading together, being read to, reading to someone else, or just talking about books. There’s a reason crazy fandoms develop around books!
While I could write on and on about this, I received this photo from our young readers at Gracepoint Minneapolis church, and yes, I do think it’s worth about a thousand words. 🙂
Sammy reading to Stephen and Teddy!
Sammy, who is an early reader, exemplifies the social nature of reading. He memorized the great board book classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. So he happily and confidently read the book to his younger friends. Not only is he introducing the younger ones to books, but he is building into his growing identity as a reader. A win-win!
We often think of reading as a solitary activity. And in some ways it is. But even when reading alone, reading is first and foremost a conversation. It is a conversation between the reader and the author. This often sparks an inner-dialogue within the reader. And more often than not, this leads to a dialogue with another person. The urge to share the experience with another person is almost inevitable. Whether it is talking about the book, or actually reading the book together.
One thing I have noticed in this first semester of Bibliopolis, where I’ve been interacting with readers of all ages, is that an almost universal component of the reading identity is wanting to read to and with other people. Time and again, I get surprised by the kids who initiate reading to others. It’s not just the “best” readers, as we might suspect. And I think it’s a powerful part of the process of growing as a reader. Sometimes you read to someone younger, who you’re only a couple of steps ahead of in life and in reading-life, or sometimes it is something like, “Hey, listen to this!” to your peers. When I was teaching high school, I observed this happening time and again during lunch time, even between a couple of senior girls who would read parts of their favorite books to/with each other (I promise, they were very mature, well-adjusted, and intelligent students!)
All this to cue today’s reading snapshot, a picture of Ashley from Gracepoint Berkeley church, who is in kindergarten, reading to the younger kiddos (and Auntie Kim) during babysitting.
I just hope that she’s going to show the pictures! Or else she’s going to experience Camp Kennaisee 🙂