Learning Series: Amelia

There is perhaps nothing better than helping young children learn to read. The wonder in a child’s eyes as she begins to understand that the pictures and words of a beloved book she knows by heart are written in those squiggly lines right there on the page is remarkable! Watching a child learn this secret is delightful to the child, parent and teacher alike.

Talking to a child from the moment of birth is the beginning of literacy. As we talk to them, children quickly come to understand much about the world.

I got to hold a seven-month-old over the weekend during a busy dinner party while her mother ate dinner and visited with other guests. Immediately Amelia and I fell into a cadence. Amelia would notice something in the room around us. She would lock her eyes on it and reach for whatever it was. As she did, I began telling her something about this new thing.

flower vase

When Amelia noticed a flower arrangement, I said, “Vase. Leaf. Flower,” I repeated these words again and again, allowing Amelia to lead the way. As she looked from one part of the arrangement to the next, touching each part, I named them for her.

A baby’s ability to focus on a thing and explore it with eyes, ears, or fingers never ceases to amaze me. After Amelia had explored the vase, leaf, and flower several times, I pulled her back a bit. Then I said, “Vase.” Her eyes darted to the vase. Amazed and delighted, I said, “Flower.” Again, her eyes bounced up to look at the flower. We played this game until her attention wandered, and we moved on to something else.

I was struck by the powerful learning that opened to Amelia as I simply watched and responded to her. She led the way. All I needed to do was let her, then suggest a next step, something else she could know. She responded. She learned. Beautiful.

 

 

 

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About Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be You

Principal at the Sweetest Little School by the Sea at the north end of Los Angeles Harbor. Working to make the world a little more awesome.
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10 Responses to Learning Series: Amelia

  1. franmcveigh says:

    The value of “talk” and allowing a child to lead the learning! THANKS for the reminders that we can “see” if we just slow down and pay attention! 🙂

    Like

  2. elsie says:

    What fun to observe that learning! Amelia is lucky to be exposed to opportunities of learning.

    Like

  3. Tara Smith says:

    Love the way this experience unfolded – for both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Leigh Anne says:

    I loved watching my children learn about their world. Their curiosity is at such a peak when they are little like that. What a fun experience for you – for both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a joy to spend time with a little one and learn together!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jarhartz says:

    Hmm your teacher’s eyes show the huge importance of this seemingly natural act so many parents do with their infants. Beautifully written!

    Liked by 1 person

    • daywells says:

      Seemingly natural – for some. Big push to help parents know the importance of talking to their children. I think helping parents and caregivers and relatives info on the power of watching and responding to a child could be rewarding for all.

      Like

  7. May I just tell you how wonderful it is that you offered to hold someone else’s baby while they ate? I loved it when people did that for me and try to return the favor whenever possible. (I loved everything you wrote about teaching and literacy, but I had to pay homage to what you did since I found that a rarity when my daughter was small.)

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    • daywells says:

      Stacey,
      I remember the exact same thing. Unaware that you haven’t gotten to eat for caring for your child… I remember people saying things like, “oh, you’re still eating?” Aye! Looks like you are really enjoying your lit human! ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

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