“Why can’t she remember that?” The importance of storybook reading in multilingual, multicultural classrooms by Terry Meier

 

My four year old nephew Michael is my best friend in the entire world. Reading this article, I just kept relating it all back to him. I have been fortunate enough to see firsthand how these youngsters think, negotiate, and most importantly, learn. Watching Michael grow up and see through my own eyes of him taking his first steps and speaking those first words were moments I will never forget in my lifetime. Now, watching him go into kindergarten and learn something new everyday is such an incredible experience, and I know exactly what Meier talks about when she says how children can either love, or dislike reading; the great thing about reading for children this age, is that if they don’t like it, there is still time to turn this perceptive around. Michael is a very interesting little boy. He is my companion through thick and thin, and partner in crime – although he is the worst negotiator in the world (No, Michael. You cannot have five cookies if you read for five minutes — sorry that’s just not how it works.) Reading and Michael is a love/hate relationship. If I can find a book that relates to Michael’s interests and life in general, its great! I’ve tried to read him more complex stories with meanings behind them, but he’s not at that age yet where he appreciates, nor understands it. For example, while trying to read the book The Giving Tree, which we all know and love, Michael questions why I keep repeating, “And the boy was happy,” and why there are no colors. Once he matures more, he will have a better understanding on how things can be so simple, but so very complex at the same time. But thats just my little spiel on that.



 

Moving along, this article by Terry Meier was very eyeopening to me, because it dealt with a lot of aspects of teaching that I never thought much about, since it just seemed like there was not much to analyze. For example, the “known,” and “silly” questions teachers asked us in kindergarten. Heck, our professors still pose these same question to us now in COLLEGE! I never thought about analyzing this aspect until someone else brought it up, because we’re just so used to hearing these questions. It never occurred to me why teachers ask questions, that we as students, (obviously) know the answer to. Why do they keep asking these questions though? We aren’t four years old. Our brains are fully developed, and we are fully capable of analyzing texts and coming up with our own opinions. So why must we put up with these questions? And for that matter, are these questions helping or hurting us as students? One might take it in a way that by asking such “dumb-ed down”, and “elementary-like questions”, the professor is degrading our worth and looks less of us as intellectual students, where we hold so much power as is (I will come back to this point later). OR, could the professor just be testing us to see if we are really paying attention in an 8 a.m. class?



 

I think professors pose these simple questions for the purpose to feel some sort of value in the classroom. Let’s be honest, there is nothing worse than a teacher calling on you in class, when you clearly weren’t paying attention, and you don’t know the answer. That my friends, is called being caught redhanded. No one wants to feel vulnerable, for when we do, it affects our pride. This is why it can be so hard for someone to apologize to another when we did them wrong. No one wants their pride to be affected. SO, these simple questions are posed at us for the purpose to feel valued since these questions really require no thinking nor creativity. On the other hand, could these simple questions be degrading us as intellectual  property? Professors hold a certain amount of authority in the classroom, and that can either go two ways. It can either go out the window, so you and your professor can become one. OR, it could go straight to their head, and then you’re screwed. I think as students we forget how much power we actually hold in the palms of our hands, and how much power the shelfs in the library hold as well.



 

Books. Books. Books. BOOKS ARE SO IMPORTANT. OMG. I CANT STATE THIS ENOUGH. But seriously. Books are such a powerful tool that people really dont care enough about in todays society, since its all about technology and the internet today. But honestly, we wouldn’t be where we are today, if it weren’t for getting started somewhere with BOOKS! Honestly, a student can do anything and everything they want if: 1.) they are determined and chances are they will succeed like 23578947584 times more if they appreciate and read BOOKS. And just like Meier said, its all about starting from a young age because its such an easy thing to get into, and it would benefit students enormously in the long run. I will conclude with a quote from Meier, which gave me hope for Michael, and all other students that may not enjoy reading right now:

“It is true, of course, that preschool or kindergarten hardly constitutes children’s last opportunity to fall in love with books. I’m thankful that it is possible for this experience to occur at any point in one’s life. Yet no one could argue with the fact that the earlier this experience occurs — the sooner children forge a deep and authentic connection to books — the likelier it is that they will be successful in school. There is no more essential task for teachers in preschool and kindergarten classrooms than to help make books meaningful in children’s lives.”

 

 

Something to think about:

Are “simple questions” helping us or harming us? Meier referred to them as “silly questions,” after all. Why would any professor want to pose a silly question? Wouldn’t it be better if we have were posed with complex question to think and ponder on rather than simple one? Besides, this isn’t a single world we inhabit today. It’s pretty damn complex if you ask me.

 

Link:

We Aren’t Here to Learn What We Already Know

 

-Mary M.

 

p.s. thats me and Michael in the featured picture.

 

okay pce out

 

 

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7 thoughts on ““Why can’t she remember that?” The importance of storybook reading in multilingual, multicultural classrooms by Terry Meier

  1. I like what you said about the “known answer” questions that they still ask in college. Sometimes when we are talking to Scarlet (she is 9) we ask her a lot of known answer questions, and she does answer in a way that suggests “Why can’t she remember that”. And yes books are VERY VERY VERY important lol. I brought Scarlet to the library at a very young age, and she loves books. I have noticed that she does like books that relate to her and her hobbies. I think once I was puzzled at why she had a particular book (it was more of a boys book if that’s ok to say) and she said that the whole class liked it at story time and it was part of a series (like Meier talked about with the Jamaica series). I like Dr. Suess in the classroom personally. The world of Dr. Suess paints a diverse world with made up words and characters that really captivates kids because they all can relate to Dr. Suess.

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  2. For one reason or another, I always end up reading, enjoying, and commenting on your blog-posts. This one is just like all the others—you brought up some valid points and I really love how you connected it back to college and then of course, your story about Michael. Overall, great job!

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  3. This was an awesome article to read and I loved that you personalized it so much by relating it to your nephew because it made it easier for me to read as well. Your enthusiasm towards your blog made the readers enthusiastic while reading it because you were so interested. Very gripping!

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