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It’s Halloween and spooky stuff abounds, not the least of which is the way childhood is being compressed (opens in a new window).

I just read an article from the Boston Globe that was both scary and hopeful. In his October 28th piece, Neil Swidey (opens in a new window) looks at how our society has bought into the notion that geniuses are created, and that the earlier young children are introduced to math, art, and other enrichment activities the earlier they’ll blossom — learning to read, do math, and more in preschool.

The research cited in the article, however, seems to strongly counter that view.

Young brains are literally not ready to synthesize all that is needed in order to read until children are around five to seven years old. That said, young children need the stimulation of hearing language from books in a safe, print-rich, and nurturing environment with caring adults. Happily, there is no lack of wonderful books available to share with children.

Go to Bed, Monster (opens in a new window) (Harcourt) is just right for young children who don’t want to go to bed and may be both intrigued and frightened by monsters. It starts, “One night, Lucy tossed and turned. She could not, would not, did not want to go to bed.” Instead, she draws a square-headed monster who is also reluctant to go to bed — but after a familiar routine, Lucy gets the monster and herself to bed.

Read this or any of a number of books (opens in a new window) to a child in your life. You may just be laying the foundation for tomorrow’s whiz kid.

About the Author

Reading Rockets’ children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Publication Date
October 31, 2007