Everyday Connections: From Oranges to Storytime

Last week I walked into the kitchen and caught my 5-year old
working hard to read the label on a little crate of oranges. I can’t tell you
how much this warms my book-loving heart.

Before we were married my husband once caught me engrossed
in reading the label on a 12-volt battery. Yes, I will read anything with words
on it.

Enter: The Little Engine That Could

Anyway. That smiling orange on the Cuties® box reminded her
of the friendly “good things for boys and girls to eat” in The Little Engine That CouldOf course, she wanted me to help find
it so we could read it together.
Now, let me just stop and tell you, this is not going to be
a blog with beautiful home organization tutorials on it.
Our picture books are strewn all over the house. I had no
idea whether The Little Engine That Could was on the overflowing shelf in the playroom, the toy-strewn floor in said
playroom, the table next to the crammed bookshelf in the family room, or tucked
away in some invented-by-a-five-year-old hiding spot in the girls’ room.
So it took me a while to find it. When I did, I turned to the
page with the oranges, and sure enough, I could see why she made the connection
with the Cuties® label.

Finally, we snuggled together on the couch, and I read it aloud
— twice in a row, because I am weak in the face of “read it again, Mommy.” Plus,
I like making different voices for the different trains. Yup, I’m dorky like

Connections – a.k.a. the
Reading Teacher Part

Little kids naturally make connections with picture books
all the time. Sometimes they are complete non-sequiturs (and hilarious – if you
have heard some, please share!), but I think making connections is part of what
makes reading fun.
In case you aren’t a reading teacher or don’t have a kid
doing this in school, “connections” is actual teacher jargon for  ideas in books that relate to the reader’s
life, other stories he or she has read, or the world at large. Reading
instruction has focused on getting kids to make connections because it aids in
Source: US Dept Education/ flickr

I also happen to think it makes reading fun. When I
volunteer at my son’s school as a “reader mom” the kids are always so excited
to share their connections with me. Everybody wants a turn.
If you learn that reading can be fun, then you read for fun.
Kids who clock more hours reading become better readers, and we all want that,

Friends  – a.k.a the Book Lover Part 

Have you ever experienced something new that reminded you of
a favorite book? It’s kind of like making a connection, but in reverse, going
from world to book instead of book to world.

I like to think of my favorite books as friends. When my
kids and I share favorites, it feels like those stories are part of our family.
And all the things out in the world that remind us of our little family of
books reinforces how much fun reading is.

Even if all that’s doing the reminding is something as
simple as the label on a little crate of oranges.

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