|Carpet for the children|
On Saturday, February 18, 2012 the St. James Parish Library presented “Wi Likkle but Wi Tallawah” intended for young children accompanied by one or two parents. The carpet was laid out for them together with a book display. I was on hand to talk to the parents about the importance of reading to children, to demonstrate ‘how to’ and to answer questions. This was the second installment of an initiative, which was launched in November, but, guess what, nobody came!
Flyers had been distributed and people who were at the launch invited, but clearly this was on nobody’s agenda at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. The library chose this time when they’re not too busy. Was it too early? Is Saturday a bad day? Possibly both, but I think the main reason is that parents who already read to their children didn’t need to come, and parents who don’t read to their children don’t see the necessity of doing so. The latter group needs to be sought out and informed.
|Where are the little children?|
1. It introduces children to story and the written word. From a young age they will know that marks on a page represent ideas.
2. When you take a child on your knee and read a book with him, or read to him when he’s tucked up in bed at night, he associates reading with pleasant emotions, and will be more likely to want to learn to read.
3. The written word differs from the spoken word. (We all know this—we can tell when somebody’s reading a speech as opposed to speaking.) Children learn to speak by hearing speech and copying it. They learn the grammar of the written word by hearing it read. This is as true for children who speak standard English as it is for those who speak patois, but for the patois speakers it is an effortless way of introducing standard English. Children learn how to construct past and present tense, plurals and to use possessive pronouns through hearing them read. When they’ve heard the same story many times, they’ll know it by heart.
How can we help parents who can’t read? Could they use the ‘talking book’ in one of its many forms? I remember cassette tapes that went with books when my daughters were little. I presume these have been superseded by CD’s.
The next “Wi Likkle but Wi Tallawah” will be on Saturday, March 17 and thereafter on every 3rd Saturday. If you know of a parent of young children who would benefit from attending, please let them know about it.