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JulieM
08-22-2007, 09:56 AM
I've been pondering something this week so decided maybe we'd ponder it together.:p

There are a couple of people close to me personally that are near 40 years old, and I've noticed one in particularly has some odd views about social situations, what are good or bad character traits, what it means to be a good friend, etc. It started me thinking, how do you learn and develop these things as you grow and mature?

I was an avid reader growing up as was DH. But the person I'm speaking of didn't read and has not been a reader her whole life, other than something technical. Then it occurred to me, maybe we learn a lot about behavior, respect, inner strength, honor, heros, etc. through reading as a child. Especially books geared towards pre-teens and young teenagers seem to have good values in them. It never occurred to me before how important this could be for child development. What are your thoughts or observations on this?

I don't think I was much of a reader as a child until around the age of 9 when our class at school was taken to the library to learn all about how the school library worked and part of the lesson was to check out a book. My first library book was called "A Dog Named Penny." I fell in love with that book and with reading from that point on.

CompassRose
08-22-2007, 10:29 AM
Oh, I don't know. These things can be pretty deceptive. I learned to read when I was around two, and never stopped. Nevertheless, I have, for instance, never really recovered from the disappointment of learning that real life and real people are not like a light and amusing turn of the century British novel, and I don't have a discreet and effortless background source of income (e.g. trust fund), however scant and insufficient, somewhere.

Moreover, my youngest brother, like the rest of us, has been a reader HIS whole life, and -- speaking of people with odd views about social situations, character traits, and other people, you couldn't get odder than my younger brother. (My sister and I, both (we flatter ourselves) intelligent and strong women, are particularly puzzled by his bizarre thoughts on females and relationships.)

I don't think social/emotional "quotient" (I remember these being bandied around a while ago, as corresponding to IQ) have much to do with reading -- much more, I'd say, to realistic interactions with real people of one's own age and group. We're social animals, that's how social animals learn these things.

potato_moose
08-24-2007, 08:29 AM
Oh, I don't know. These things can be pretty deceptive. I learned to read when I was around two, and never stopped. Nevertheless, I have, for instance, never really recovered from the disappointment of learning that real life and real people are not like a light and amusing turn of the century British novel, and I don't have a discreet and effortless background source of income (e.g. trust fund), however scant and insufficient, somewhere.


Those books cracked me up when they talked about "a family so poor they could only have one servant" :rolleyes:

I think reading can be one way that you learn about social mores, but certainly not the only way. And what you read is just as important as whether or not you read at all. A steady diet of romance novels is less likely to teach you about the real world than, say, the Grapes of Wrath.

The same goes for movies and tv--content matters!

beacooker
08-24-2007, 09:18 AM
I do think that hero stories are very important for children to read. I know that growing up, my parents didn't talk about values much, and I feel like most of what I know about what it means to be a good person I learned from books (and from my parent's example - they were good people, just didn't get around to talking much about what makes a good person).

I realized while reading some book to my son a few months ago, that I still sort of subconsciously decide what is right based on lessons I learned from books like the Narnia series, Anne of Green Gables, etc. So if you don't like who I am today, blame CS Lewis. :p

JulieM
08-24-2007, 09:29 AM
I agree the content of the books a child reads would be vital to the point of the discussion. I remember reading a whole series of books about a girl who starts out as a Candy Striper in a hospital and works her way up to being a nurse as I remember. I think they were the Mary Stewart series. Also the Pipi Longstockings series. DH read the Hardy Boys.

RunnerKim
08-24-2007, 10:31 AM
I have young children (almost 5 and 2) and I do think books are important but even more so are the discussions that come from reading those books. I've had conversations about race & discrimination when we read about Jackie Robinson and then Rosa Parks and then MLK Jr. We've talked about gender issues when we've read Mighty Jackie the Strike Out Queen and a few other women in baseball stories. We've talked about sharing, helping, strangers, healthy food, making babies and so much more etc. etc. all around books we're reading.

I also read aloud to my nephews (almost 10 and 8) and we've read Bridge to Terabithia which had plenty to talk about and we were all in tears for the last couple of chapters. We did a lot of debriefing with that book! Narnia series and we're currently reading Robin Hood - plenty to talk about there as far as what makes a "good" person.

So I agree that books are important but just as much is the processing of what you're reading.

It can be hard with some of classics to get past some of the sexist assumptions - Narnia series comes to mind. I'll don't have a problem reading them but I will comment about it so it doesn't go smoothly by - "ah I don't think a girl today would be content to..." or "I wouldn't etc."

Kim

beacooker
08-24-2007, 11:29 AM
Kim, do you happen to know the titles of the books you read to your kids about Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, and MLK Jr?

RunnerKim
08-24-2007, 05:28 PM
Let's see - they almost all came from the library. It was kind of a sequential thing.. we were in sports mode and thus the books about Jackie Robinson. Two stand out: Jackie Robinson the Hero of Baseball by Ford and Jackie Robinson and the story of All-Black baseball (a level 5 chapter book that I mostly got for my older nephew to read - not so great for a preschool book but my daughter did request it a few times while we had it). We also read Stealing Home: against the odds but I can't remember how much we liked it. I'd also highly recommend Catching the Moon which is about Toni Stone (first (black) woman to play prof. baseball).

Around MLK Jr. Day I pulled out a booked I'd bought that had good reviews and it was about Ruby Bridges. The Story of Ruby Bridges by Coles and Ford. It is a well done book and good for young kids. It's one they could relate too being kids themselves (including my nephews here).

The one we liked the best about MLK Jr. was called Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport.

We read many books about Rosa Parks because we take public transit and it really was something we could relate too. Paying to take the bus and then having it take off without you - and on purpose! And making the sacrifice to walk to work/school! Whoa. Big stuff. But I don't have a specific Rosa Parks book to recommend. I've gotta run but if I have time I'll see if I can find which ones we read next week.

Kim

beacooker
08-24-2007, 08:27 PM
Thank you for those book recommendations, Kim! I would love the Rosa Parks titles if you get the chance to look them up. I'm very impressed at the subject matters you are introducing your kids to. :)