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Literacy @ Home

"The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from – more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."

Jim Henson

The Value of Creativity

Albert Einstein, recipient of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, captured the essence of why fantasy books and creative writing are invaluable for children: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

High-quality children’s books and innovative Write with Your Kids educational materials—developed with inclusiveness, integrity, and transparency—can help children to improve their reading, creativity, and writing.

It’s All About the Kids

Children today may need more transformation than information. Parents and grandparents can help educators to create more opportunities for kids to develop to their full potential—and become a “literacy beacon of HOPE” to offset FADS that undermine their promising futures.

 

  • HOPE: Healthiness, Optimism, Positivity, & Excellence

  • FADS: Fear, Anxiety, Doubt, & Sadness

 

As Steve Jobs said, everyone needs to “find their through line.”

Our Family

I passed on my literacy commitment to my kids and they, in turn, to their children. As I engage with my seven grandkids, I focus on collaboration, compassion, and respect for their uniqueness.

 

We have a blended, reading-and-writing family with Caucasian and Chinese, male and female, biological and adopted, and self-sufficient and special needs kids. Our “fantasy adventures with a heart” reflect the core values of our multigenerational and multicultural family. 

 

Each of our homes routinely has kid-related activities scattered around…like artwork, puzzles, workbooks, etc. 

 

Below is a table I set up in my office to teach my seven-year-old granddaughter about the history of writing instruments. I gave her a blank notebook to experiment with writing: from quill and ink…to a 19th-century steel-tip dip pen…to fountain pens and ordinary crayons, colored pencils, gel pens, etc. 

Activity Centers

When our own kids were little, I bought arts-and-crafts materials and how-to books. We also made stories with Star Wars and Barbie action figures and sets. Of course, sites like Pinterest and YouTube make it much easier to be creative with kids today! 

 

Some activity areas can be makeshift such as general living areas. Interestingly, our kids have converted their dining rooms into arts-and-crafts areas. 

 

As a grandparent, I’ve had dedicated rooms for kid activities, including an entire wall painted like a blackboard for story development. As you can see, one of my grandkids left me a special note!

I expanded my “imagineering with grandkids” concepts when I learned about Jim Henson’s family while developing my second American history book. In RESOURCES, I’ve written an essay about lessons I learned from Jim’s mother whom I was blessed to meet when she was in her 90s…and who shared stories about how her mother taught Jim Henson drawing, painting, and visual arts…which he then used to create the first Muppets!

Books Books Books

My wife and I had almost no books growing up and there was no public library. We therefore created small bedroom libraries for our kids.

 

The mobile library below reminds me of the Bookmobile that dramatically transformed my access to classic books in elementary school.

By NeoBatfreak - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78346801

Here are some other pics of mobile libraries from around the world:

By Kritzolina - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89030172

By Acción Visual/Diana Arias - Contact us/Photo submission, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5099922

Our kids have continued the tradition of focusing on childhood literacy. Besides routinely getting books from public libraries, our grandkids also have their own books. (And our grandson with special needs just started to read!)

 

An inexpensive way to create a home library is to buy used, good-condition books at school book fairs, library sales, and yard sales.

 

Since I embarked on this writing-with-grandkids journey, I have been replacing my research books on American history with “fantasy kidlit.”

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