I joke and skite just a little bit about my moko being able to read. He is only 8 months old, so of course I know that he is not “actually” reading.
What he is doing is listening to a soothing voice, hearing repetitive words and phrases, learning how sentences go together, building his vocabulary, looking at pictures and seeing colours, patterns and shapes, finding out which way the pages go when they are turned, figuring out which way up the book goes, enjoying being held and given attention, enjoying routine. I absolutely love watching his face light up as he absorbs his daily bedtime stories and the pictures in books. Knowing he is getting a head start for literacy is assuring.
I know he is not “reading” but I do know that his imagination is being set alight, that he is learning and soaking up everything in front of him from the absolute concentration on his ātaahua face.
As a teacher I know that early literacy is essential for success. Kids who can read find being at school so much easier, kids who find success at school go on to be able make better choices for their future. That doesn’t mean that there are any foregone conclusions or major expectations as to what he might be, what he might do, what might make him happy. We are providing an opportunity for him to have a happy and successful life. It means that he will likely have greater choices as to what makes him happy and hopefully mean he is never limited.
Lots of people might have thought it was a little bit strange that my daughter started reading to her new born within the first few days. Some might think it even more strange that there were a few embarrassed stories read to her puku. I know she thought it felt weird and the first stories were read quietly so no one else could hear. I’m pretty sure her and her partner both read to him in secrecy for quite some time. Their confidence has grown, and I’m glad it has because you can tell that my moko loves this time of the day. They all do.
What is even more impressive is that my daughter is using this to develop her own reo Maori with bi-lingual and Te Reo Maori books. It is helping our whole whānau to feel more confident using more and more kupu as we kōrero with him. Like reading, second language development works best if it is started early.
I’m really proud they are giving my moko these opportunities. Like I have said before, I am only the Nanny, so I can suggest and hope, but I really have no say. Well done whanau, another way of showing you’ve got this!