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Gramma Nettie helps change the world

Grandmothers!  Do you know how important reading is?  No, I don’t mean the mamby pamby stuff that we do because it keeps the kids occupied for a time.  I mean real reading.  Real books that cause children to think, to learn and to try new things.  This is the stuff geniuses are made of!

RedBoy learns about sharks

RedBoy learns about sharks. He is happy. Really!

Jim Trelease is a retired school teacher.  His research has become very important.  He discovered that Phonics is the “how-to” mechanics of reading. But children tend to stop reading for enjoyment before they are even graduated.  Our job is to instill the “want-to” joy of reading. His brochure “Why Read Aloud to Children?” is a great tri-fold primer to get started.  The link is here.

Suzuki’s method of teaching violin is to have the kids listen to music over and over and over before they even touch a musical instrument.  Trelease, without realizing it, says essentially the same thing.  The child learns to speak by listening to words over and over.  The child learns to read by listening to books read to him over and over.

Did you know that the children lose interest in reading for enjoyment about the same time the adults stop reading aloud to them?  This happens about middle school.  But this is when reading aloud SHOULD continue! Children read books at one level.  But they understand books at about two levels higher.  Reading upper level books gets the kids used to the different way the language works, and introduces new words they would never hear, otherwise.

Trelease cites the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study which found that those Kindergarten children who had been read to at least three times per week were at least twice as likely to score well in reading readiness. Did you know that a good childrens’ book is three times richer in vocabulary than the spoken word?  Reading aloud gets those words into the kids.

The Huffington Post had an article about the American Academy of Pediatrics policy on promoting literacy.  AAP wants Pediatricians to encourage parents to read aloud to their children, calling it critical they do so. Gramma Nettie can help by offering books that are designed for parents and grands to read to children of all ages.

The Usborne Lady http://www.UsborneLady.com

 

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The Real Mother Goose

 

The Real Mother Goose 1916 illustration by Blanche Fisher Wright Gutenberg Project

The Real Mother Goose
1916 illustration by
Blanche Fisher Wright
Gutenberg Project

I love the poems from the Real Mother Goose.  I love how the words dance around in a sing-song fashion.  I love how they create word-pictures in your mind.

The Real Mother Goose was first written in 1916.  The 1966 introduction of this hugely popular book by May Hill Arbuthnot describes why it has persisted for 50 years.  The origins of the rhymes themselves are British through and through.  The name, though, comes from France.  Charles Perrault collected eight folk tales which he called “Tales of Mother Goose.”  This was in 1697.  About 100 years later, John Newbery printed a book of 52 verses, woodcut illustrations and even 16 songs from Shakespeare.  This was titled Mother Goose’s Melody.

When you read these verses out loud, you cannot help but to sing them.  The rhymes are catchy, with children learning to follow along with Gramma, then singing them out by themselves.  The child hears the verses, and repeats the verses back verbally.  Some of them also encourage physical movement, such as when Jack jumps over the candlestick.

1, 2, 3 4 5 I caught a hare alive Gutenberg Project

1, 2, 3 4 5
I caught a hare alive
Gutenberg Project

Some experts will explain the dark origins of many of these rhymes.  They may be true, but does it really matter?  The child does not know that “Ring around the Rosey” describes the black plague.  All she knows is that she can dance around and around singing this tune, then she gets to flop down with great drama.

The book has a variety of rhymes to select from: games, verses and people.  Children laugh at the cow jumping over the moon and at all the “funny sounds and bouncy rhymes.”

See how they run! from Gutenberg Project

See how they run!
from Gutenberg Project

But for me, it has always been about the illustrations.  As a child, I was drawn to the darling images but stayed for the words.  Arbuthnot explains that reading this large collection of more than 300 verses will help children know more words than if they’d never heard them read aloud.  Reading this book will introduce the child with a fun introduction to the pleasures of poetry.

The Gutenberg Project

The Gutenberg Project

Reading this book does not need to stop when the child reaches Kindergarten age.  Parents (and grandparents) should continue reading aloud until they are grown up, married and have children of their own.  Of course, I exaggerate, but not by much.

The name Mother Goose means something with, for or about children.  Youtube has the Mother Goose Club of songs and stories for children.  Personally, I find these silly at best.  Libraries have Mother Goose times where a volunteer reads some story to a group of children.  This event is designed to expose kids to reading and books.  But the best use of the name Mother Goose is simply placing the child on your lap and reading the stories to him.  Read with excitement.  Read with motion.  Read with passion.

Here is my version of three of these poems.  I originally intended them for my grandson, but I much prefer to read them in person!

All of the Mother Goose collection is in the public domain.

Here is one version from Gutenberg Project, edited by Eulalie Osgood Grover.

This one is the one I grew up with, also from the Guttenberg Project,  illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright.

Other versions:

The Only True Mother Goose Melodies

Mother Goose or the Old Nursery Rhymes

Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes

I have heard of Mother Goose in Prose, but have never read it.  Perhaps now is the time.  It is written by L. Frank Baum.  Yes, the same man who wrote about the Wizard of Oz.

Walt Disney made a film in 1931 entitled Mother Goose Melodies which I had never seen.  Here is one of those shorts:

{PS:  As I was writing about the three blind mice, my computer’s mouse died.  Is this an omen?}

 

The Grandma Relationship

She describes her relationships with her grandchildren very well.

Wela Betty

I’ve been an abuela for almost 7 years now and just love it!

Being there for the births of my two granddaughters during illness, through the tantrums and tears, and rediscovering the world through their eyes is a fantastic experience that can’t be described in words. Of course, there is some “mischief” (call it spoiling) that occurs when we are together – that’s part of the fun – and I consider it a part of being a grandmother… the privilege to indulge them with special treats once in a while!

I have also come to realize that there is a qualitative difference between being a mother and being a grandmother. For me, the grandma relationship is wonderful because it’s conflict-free. But if I was minding a child full-time (or if one of my daughters had produced a boy!), I might see things differently.

But right now, for me, one of…

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Posted by on 20 June 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Swimming safety tips

Grandmothers can certainly help on this department

Swimbees

tdy_health_swim_130620.video-260x195

Swimming safety can be easy. Here are some tips from Olympic swimmer Janet Evans!

http://www.today.com/video/today/52262836#52262836

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Posted by on 14 June 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Stories from my Grandmother

“It is hard to qualify the influence that this amazing woman had on me, and really on everyone around her.”

This grandchild describes the influence Grandmother had during the growing up years. The author also explores several stories related by her. This challenges me to write down the stories of my own grandparents … because they are important to understand them. How about you? Do you have a favorite story?

Bloodlust: Domains of the Chosen

Florence May Harris Florence May Harris

My Grandmother’s funeral was yesterday.   She lived from February 26, 1924 to May 21, 2014. Her name was Florence May Harris (maiden name Kettle).

It was a beautiful ceremony, attended by friends and family from all over the country. I had to park down the street from the Church, in fact.

It is hard to qualify the influence that this amazing woman had on me, and really on everyone around her. Like so many of the generation that grew up during the depression and World War II, she had an influence that seemed far out of proportion to that of a single being. My grandmother was the type of person that built communities, and that was evident at her funeral.

Perhaps the beast measure of a person, in my view, is in the stories they tell. Hateful people tend to tell tales that justify their lists of…

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Posted by on 9 June 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Memories of a Visit to My Grandmother’s House

” The life of the house left when my grandmother went home”
manicdiva73 describes her visits to her southern grandmother, and the loss she now feels.

Manicdiva73's Poetry Blog

dirt road

I remember the smell of the country air as we went down south to visit my grandmother.

I liked to wiggle my feet in the red dirt. My mother would always tell me not to get dirty because the red dirt was hard to get out of my clothes. Being a child, I didn’t care. I still ran and played with my cousins. I remember running up and down the dirt roads. I felt free. That was a happy time in my life.

How could I forget the chickens that roamed free? Yes, we threw rocks at them because we didn’t know any better. My parents would run out of the house just to make us stop.

In the backyard of my grandmother’s house, there were a lot of flowers and trees. I was told not to go back there because of the snakes. It was so beautiful that I…

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Posted by on 7 June 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Poor Nanna.

I just had to read this author’s take on the grandmother name. I had never heard of the Dutch grand-naming convention. I think it is interesting. I had the kids call my parents by the first name the oldest “seemed” to say — Domma — which my mother attributes to Lithuanian.

 
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Posted by on 3 June 2014 in Uncategorized