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On words and reading

Conversations with my granddaughter

Dr Alex Tang

 

Hello little one,

Grampa is very happy that you are familiar with the 26 little letters called alphabets. These are like your Duplo bricks. You can fit them together to make things called words. Each word has a special meaning. You almost bowled us over in surprise when you came home from school one day and told us that ‘A’ is for alligator. Such a long word. When Grampa was your age, Grampa only know ‘A’ is for apple. Words come together to make sentences but you already knew that as you have been speaking in sentences for a few months. And your vocabulary is increasing by leaps and bounds. Remember when we were watching a fish in an aquarium. You noticed the fish does not have what you describe as ‘covering’ over the eyes. Grampa then taught you a new word, ‘eyelids’. And you spend the evening looking at everyone’s eyelids.

Little one, Grampa is sure that you know the words you are using correspond to the black letters on the pages of a book. That is why you insist that your Mummy or Daddy or Grandma read to you every night before you fall asleep. You instinctively know that these words and sentences make up stories about black birds, pie, queens, falling bridges and a spider that wants to climb up a water sprout.

You grew up with books. From your perspective the bookshelves in Grampa’s study are mountains of books. Grampa is glad that you respect books. You are so happy to have a bookmark for your bedtime storybook similar to those bookmarks you see Grampa and Grandma using for our books. And you do not make marks in Grampa’s books, limiting your drawing and colouring to your own sticker book. Books are to be respected, little one, for they are doorways to awe and wonders, peace and joy, challenge and fulfilment, and ultimately the conveyer of Truth. Your books may be digital in the future but they are still books.

Learning to read is hard work. It will be challenging but Grampa hope that you will persevere. It is Grampa’s hope that you develop a love for books, similar to the love of books that both your Mummy and Ah Yee has acquired. Grampa hope that your reading will help you in discovering new worlds and new civilizations. And these in turn will lead you to boldly go where no little one has gone before. There is a wonderful magnificent world out where, and to be found within you; to be enjoyed if you know how to read. However, there is no hurry, little one. Take your time. Play with Grampa’s books in the meantime. Use them to make a river for you to jump over, or construct a boat for you and your friends to sail in. Books are your friends, little one. They are happy for you to use them as construction blocks until you know how to read and discover the treasures within.

 

Dear God,

Please teach this little one to read and instill in her a love of reading and of books. Help her to discover the worlds of imagination and of ideas through the words in books. Lead her to discover You in Your Word, which is the Book of books and the Word of words.

 Amen

 

 

 

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