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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

My poor dental hygienist

June 2, 2009

All she wanted to do was clean my teeth and share new pictures of her 6-month-old little girl.

"She's very cute!" I mumbled, with Christina's hands in my mouth. "Do you read to her?" I asked.

"We do! Probably a book almost every day. But it's not like she understands what we say. It's sort of funny to do it."

There's nothing like a comment like that to get this reading specialist to sit up in the chair and start talking. And talk we did!

We talked all about the fact her daughter started learning the moment she was born! And that there are specific ways she can read with her baby. I shared the value of narrating everything she does as a way to get language into the house, and how one of my favorite researchers, Todd Risley, described for Reading Rockets the language differences at school entry when kids came from homes with lots of talk. We (okay, I) talked about proven ideas for parents of babies that prepare them for later success in reading.

I shared some of my favorite books for young listeners and about how our own public library is joining the movement to add more services for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

I'm sorry, Christina. I couldn't help myself!

Comments

Hurray for you!!!!!!!!! I had the same type conversation with my cab driver last night who is eager to know what he might do to help his two very young children. Fascinating conversation and particularly interesting to hear his comparisons with his home country, Ethiopia where he said no one is ever told to read to a child.

I love this post! I do the same thing, when the opportunity arises (though never at the dentist, so far anyway).

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"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln