Wednesday, January 21, 2009

¡Los Lemleys Leen!

Sorry, I just wrote that in Spanish because of the L - alliteration.

The Lemleys Read!

Our dear friend Holli just came back from her holidays in the states and brought us some books I ordered on Amazon. We're really excited because most of them are books about Japan. Besides talking to our friends about what life is like there, I am (we are) very naive to Japan and its culture. So now, I just need to finish reading Eragon so I can start these books. The books vary from historical fiction, two ex-pat autobiographies, a travel guide and a Japanese language workbook.

Literacy is very important to us on many different levels. For one, we're both English teachers (normal high school and middle school English teachers teaching the same stuff as we would be in the states, not ESL teachers as some of you may think). Secondly, we both LOVE to read. And lastly, we really feel it's important to have a literacy-rich household for Max.

We've been reading books to him since he was about six months old and it's gone in stages. First, he'd sit and cuddle with us while we read to him, but really didn't have a clue as to what was going on. Second, he started trying to rip the book out of our hands and chuck it on the floor. Third, to really enjoying reading books with us at nighttime before bed.

And now, we still read before bedtime, but now he constantly brings books up to us throughout the day and looks at us with those big blue eyes handing us the books. We'll take the book, he climbs up into our laps, and is totally engaged in what we're reading him. He has started to be able to point out certain things to us, "baby" (which is really any kid) and "cat". He has a book about Opposites and he knows the page when it say "hot" with a pig at the beach in shades and says "hot" without us saying it. It's quite fun!

Unfortunately, it's not easy getting English books here in Peru. We have a fantastic library at school, but he still is in the board book stage because he's quite rough with books and will rip paper pages and there's not many board books at our library. So, we've been reading the same books over and over and over again, which I know is good for his language development, but really it takes every ounce of me to read some of these books over and over and over again.

Literacy is interesting in Peru. I believe that Peru has a higher literacy rate than the U.S. (I need to check that stat). But, this is not a reading culture. Books in Spanish are expensive here. It's not like popping into your local Barnes and Noble and getting great books on sale or finding most paperbacks for under $10. Many of my students do not have many (if any) books in their homes (and we're teaching very affluent kids here). I'm not sure the reason why reading isn't really important here. Maybe it's because books are expensive. Maybe it's because many young children are not brought up with books because many are raised by nannies. I don't know.

What I do know is that I love that he loves books. I could read to him all day, okay maybe not all day, but it makes me so happy when he hands me a book, climbs into my lap and wants to hear a story.

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