"If you read to a child 20 minutes a day That child will learn 1 million additional words a year And will gain 1,000 additional vocabulary words a year. -Delaine Easton, California State Superintendent of Schools
I have six grandchildren and love each one dearly. I loved my children too, but it was a different. I was more concerned with their everyday behavior and physical health. While I care about my grandchildren's wellbeing, I also know that their parents are there. I'm very aware of how time can slip away and how valuable each moment I spend with them is. So, what can I do with them, for them or give to them? What will my children and grandchildren remember when I'm gone. I'm more interested in giving them something they can carry with them, a legacy. I believe reading is one way to connect and create an intergenerational bond that will stay with them through out their lives.
Educators and authors Colin Greer and Herbert Kohl said:
"Stories can be transformative for children and [grand]parents alike. And the experience of reading is enriched when people share a text. When we read together we can directly connect our own lives to those of others and test our visions of right and wrong through different eyes and experiences. Literature helps us learn what we can expect from life and what we can give to it." (Quoted on the Legacy Project*)
There are many ways that grandparents can pass this gift on to their grandchildren. Here are ten suggestions and links to more useful ideas.
1. Take your grandchild to the library and help them get their own library card. Check out International Book Giving Day http://bookgivingday.com/on February, 14th.
2. Gift books to them for birthdays, holidays and important milestones.
3. Read to your grandchild. Long distance? No problem. Read to them over Skype. Create a video or sound recording of yourself reading a book. Or read a book together and then discuss it over the phone. (I haven't done this yet, you have to make the time. I need to work on that!)
4. Research something together. If he's interested in bugs, get some books about them. Go to a science museum. Go hunting for bugs.
5. Write a story together. Long distance? No problem. Email or send letters. You could even send a small journal back and forth relating stories from you lives.
6. Start a hobby together and read about it. Rocks, bugs, spoons, shells, stamps...
7. Give a gift subscription to a children's literary or science magazine. I have a list of several on my website, So I'm Fifty. http://soimfifty.blogspot.com/p/grandmas-bag-of-tricks.html
Here are several links with great inspiration!!
The Essential Grandparent
Life 1 2 3.Com
Grandparents.Com (Great article on reading aloud.)
Legacy Project (Free PDF with great ideas!)
"Generations connect us to time in a way that goes beyond the clock. It's the experience of life in a multigenerational, interdependent, richly complex community that, more than anything else, teaches us how to be human," writes Susan V. Bozak Founder of the Legacy Project.
As grandparents we have a wonderful opportunity to connect with our grandchildren through reading. This connection is vital to our grandchildren.
What kind of connection do you have with your grandchildren?
How connected are your children to their grandparents?
Share any ideas you have for strengthening this connection.