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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where is the green sheep?

This is such a favorite for us that I can't believe we haven't actually purchased a copy yet. Nope. We just check it out of the library every few months.

We love this book. It's simple and charming. I read a for-grownups book by Mem Fox once--Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever--in which she discussed some of her "secrets" for writing for young children. Repetition seemed to be a major key. As far as learning to decode the mechanics of reading goes, I suppose this is a good argument for the "whole language" camp. I'm not going to go there right now. It is an interesting debate (learning to read whole words vs. deconstructing and using phonics), and I probably will revisit it some other time.

For now, though, I appreciate the rhetorical device of repetition simply for the way it is allowing the children to follow a simple narrative and anticipate the next statement.
"Here is the blue sheep/And here is the red sheep/Here is the bath sheep/And here is the bed sheep/But where is the green sheep?"
Not only is it fun to read along together, but we have noticed Theo independently "reading" the book to Cayden, and Cayden "reading" the book out loud to himself.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see my children gain pleasure from books on their own. Oh, cuddled next to mom is great. But doing it on their own is the first step down a lifetime of self-guided experiences.

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