By Dr. Stanley W. DeJarnett,
Georgia Vision Project
“Dad, read it to me one more time.”
As the father of three, now grown, girls, I bet I have heard that a thousand times over the years. I was a teacher when they were young so I spent my days at school teaching other people’s children, but every evening their bedtime routine included a story. When they were young I selected the book; as they grew older they got to choose.
The girls and I had our little inside jokes with some of the books. I would announce I was going to read the “short version” of the book and then read the first and last pages. We would laugh as they said “No, Dad, read it all!” and then we would start over. We also began to create our own stories. My girls still remember our made-up series of stories about “The Three Cows” (all sisters) and their adventures at baseball games and the mall. Silly, I know, but it never got old. At our first Braves game Caroline yelled “Just like Flossy, Bossy and Myrtle!” when we walked through the entrance gate!
Amazing things happen when you read to your child. Many of them are the important skills and habits they learn along the road to literacy, such as building vocabulary and learning to predict what happens next in the plot of a new story. But amazing things happen to parents too. Would I have ever become my girls’ favorite storyteller any other way? Would I have learned so much about what happened during their day while I was at work? Would we share the same love of reading as adults? Not a chance.
I’m a grandfather now. I have – no surprise – a granddaughter. And guess what? She has a bedtime routine that includes stories. When we are together we read some of the same stories I read to my girls. I’m sure that soon I’ll begin trying to read the “short version” and hope she will think it is as funny as her Mom did twenty six years ago.
And yes, more adventures of the “Three Cows” are coming soon. I can’t wait.
The Georgia Vision Project was initiated collaboratively by The Georgia School Boards Association and The Georgia School Superintendents Association. Since its inception, over 20 private, professional and corporate organizations all over Georgia have joined as partners in this effort. The goal of this partnership is to create and communicate a new vision for public education in the state of Georgia by providing all children with an equitable and excellent education that prepares them for college, career and life. Visit http://www.visionforpubliced.org