The Rich Get Richer

There is no silver bullet for literacy, but there are golden opportunities.

I picked Poppy up from her daycare a little after 5:00 on Friday evening. Kristine saw me and wanted to come, but I had not arranged anything with her parents, so she could to be released to me. Poppy stopped what she was doing and walked toward the door, then out the door, in her stocking feet. The teacher, Louise, and I looked at each other and shrugged. Poppy was already five feet ahead of me.

I caught up to her, and she grabbed the plastic bin of grammar blocks out of my hand. "I'll carry it," she said.

"Oh, you want to carry this bin of blocks?" I reflected to her. "OK." I released it to her.

She held it in both arms and marched like someone with a purpose for about a dozen steps, then stopped and looked up at me. "Too heavy!" she said, so I took it from her.

"It is heavy," I said. "Wooden blocks are heavy." One of the things I am being deliberate about with her is giving her verbal feedback, confirming and extending what she has to say, in order to model richer, more detailed linguistic structures.

She grabbed my wallet and attached car keys from my hand and offered, "I can carry this!"  

"OK, you can carry that," I responded. "Thank you for being helpful."

We walked into the mall and she chose a table near the entrance. Poppy opened the bin and began to take the blocks out. "You can play with the blocks for a bit while I set up my work," I told her. I could've done this prep part at home, before I met with her, but I wanted her to see me do it. It's funny, because if I ask her to watch me or to pay attention to what I'm doing, she doesn't always want to do so. But if I say, "You play while I work on this," she gets very curious about what I am doing and ends up paying better attention than when I ask her to.

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