My wife, Lisa, is a tax accountant. She enjoys (?!) working with people, organizing their previous year’s financial doings and putting them all together into a single, fileable package. She’s a numbers person, an organizer, blessed with, as they say, “the gift of administration.”
She’s also, as it turns out, a darn good reading tutor.
Our oldest granddaughter, for a variety of reasons (the least of which is not the academic upheaval of the last 20 months), needs extra help with her reading. She’s getting all the help her school is able to provide, but it’s just not been enough.
In stepped her Nana.
Have you ever heard the joke along the lines of a doctor being called for on an airplane? The one where the overly-eager spouse offers her help as the “wife of a doctor”? Lisa has a line she pulls out when social conversation with my peers turns to school related topics: “I’m the wife of a teacher,” she’ll say, in order to humorously establish her bona fides.
It turns out – and this is no surprise to those who know her – she’s so much more than just the spouse when it comes to teaching.
She’s jumped in with both feet, and our conversations are now sprinkled with words and phrases such as, “morphemes,” “graphophonemic,” and “high-frequency words.” She’s got a stack of books she’s collected from our shelves, and she’s proven herself more than adept at mining them for the bits of information that are moving her teaching effort forward with success. Our granddaughter’s reading is improving weekly, if not daily!
Yesterday, surrounded by texts, she felt compelled to write about me and my books, but I think her “slice” is actually more about her. I’ll let you decide.
Living with Tim, a Slice
Books, books, books everywhere, a modest home with a not so modest book collection. Books can be found on the kitchen table, books can be found neatly arranged on a display shelf in the dining room, books fill the shelves across and below the neat display, there are children’s books on the living room hearth, two end tables hold the current interests, and an additional bookcase holds interests of the recent past, bookcases in the bedroom, (did I say three?)*, books on the headboard and on the dresser, books in the ‘yoga room’, two bookcases in the extra bedroom and naturally, books in the bathroom. Oh, I forgot, books in the garage!
These books are not organized by author or subject. They are not organized using the BISAC, Dewey Decimal or the Library of Congress system. It’s simply the Gels matter of available space and current interest that allows for a constant flow of the printed matter to circulate amongst the various horizontal surfaces of our home.
Selecting a book and opening to a random page provides nuggets of intrigue. This morning I came across Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson. My eight year old granddaughter wrote her first story this week in a turquoise journal with a matching glitter pen complete with a pom pom on top. It starts with, “if you woke up one morning and were a bug…” this interest must be supported and encouraged. I am engrossed by the words on page 97. “First, we talk about the writer’s craft of close observation by reading aloud The Other Way of Listening by Byrd Baylor. This picture book tells a story of learning to observe, to sense things not everyone senses. The book sparks conversation about other ways of listening and seeing the world around us.” The paragraph continues with the mention of two more titles. Books beget books and soon they will be found in our home, first on the coffee table by my chair as I read them, then they will migrate to the end table by the couch as we share the reading experience together, then to the kitchen table as we learn to write about what we’ve observed and finally to the shelves dedicated to the children’s books within their reach. Books beget books.
That eight year old is needing support as she learns to read. As I was reading a teachers manual on teaching reading I came across this little gem, as I am not a teacher this is exciting to read. “Correspondences between print and speech. Sound-symbol associations.” I print this out and post it to the front of my composition book.
I can’t help but play with the printed words.
Sound-symbol associations…hmmm, directly under it I write,
“The Sound Cymbals Association : D”
I open, In the Company of Children by Joanne Hindley, to a random page to find a list titled How Readers Choose Books. Towards the bottom it states, “They read two or three pages in the middle of the book…”
*Later I observed there are actually five bookshelves in our bedroom.
Proud husband moment, right here!