Left to Right – Top to Bottom

“You can tell when a student hasn’t been read to at home. They don’t have book-handling skills, such as you go from left to right and then turn the page, and top to bottom.” Colleen Donegan, reading specialist, William Penn Elementary School, Bethlehem. The Morning Call, Thursday, October 12, 2006.

While reading my sil’s blog, Horse Tales, her friend’s long ago comment regarding a wish to have time to read, brought this quote to mind. I, like my sil, can’t imagine a day that doesn’t have some pleasure reading at some point in the day. Imagine a student who goes to their first day of Kindergarten who doesn’t have book-handling skills. Yearly Ms. Donegan encounters students who enter elementary school with out these rudimentary skills. Her job is to teach them how to handle a book, which involves knowing how to scan a page left to right, top to bottom and then how to turn a page in the correct direction. Things we take for granted that children will just pick up. Ummm…that would be a NOPE!

My daughter wants to be a reading specialist. Currently she works in a Pre-school/Childcare Center as the Head Teacher in the Infant Room. There she designs and implements curriculum for babies and infants under the age of one year. Part of that curriculum involves reading to the babies every single day, teaching them how to handle a book with care, how to turn pages, how to scan the pages, and “read.”

Yesterday she called to share an “atta boy!” she received from the parents of one of her charges. She also shared that another of her babies just celebrated her first birthday and was moved up to the next level classroom, no longer in DD’s care. DD told me how this little girl loves to sit with a book in her lap, turning pages, scanning the pages using her finger, all the while babbling baby words while she “reads aloud.” DD is quite proud of her little charge. As DD said to me, “I taught her how to read. Parents just don’t understand the importance of teaching that to their children. That’s why I want to be a reading specialist.”

Good thing too.

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