Skip to main content

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader

Every night, we read books together before Maya goes to bed. I like to read bedtime-themed books at bedtime, because it helps to set the tone and model good sleep routines for her. Usually we read one or two books in English, and one or two books in Spanish, and we switch them out periodically. See our list below of some of our favorite 

Last night, we read The Going to Bed Book, then Goodnight Octopus, and finally Buenas Noches Luna, which Maya decided she wanted to "read" to me by herself. I was impressed with how many of the items in the illustrations she was able to identify, as she held the book and turned the pages, narrating what she could. But instead of saying "good night," or "buenas noches" to el globo rojo, la viejita, los tres ositos, la luna, los caletines, los gatitos jugatones y el ratoncito, she said "Hello!" to all of them! It made me laugh, and reminded me of when I would do running records and miscue analysis on my ESL students. 

Saying "hello" instead of "good night" is a miscue known as substitution, when a young reader substitutes one word for another while reading. Sometimes these substitutions make sense in context, and sometimes they do not. An emerging reading might use substitution when they don't understand a word being read, or it could be a logical substitution, which does not change the meaning of the text. In this case, it demonstrates that the student is reading from meaning, which is the most important skill.

Obviously Maya wasn't reading the words on the page, and instead was reciting by memory and identifying what she recognized in the images. But at 2.5 years old, it is still an impressive beginning to early literacy! And her ability or "read" the book, even with substitution "hello" for "good night" demonstrated to me her comprehension skills and the extent of vocabulary she has gained from our nightly reading routine. 

For that reason, it is important to read books over and over to young children. Research has proven that reading and rereading picture books boost vocabulary and comprehension. Additional research suggests it's not the number of books, but the repetition of each book that leads to greater learning. Therefore, it's not the vast quantity of books a child has, but repeated exposure to those books that can really make a difference in their development. 

So, I will continue to read and reread whichever books Maya wants before bed, and continue to encourage her to "read" them back to me, to practice that vocabulary in English and Spanish that we are instilling in her. 

Our favorites bedtime books are ...
Hello Boston by Martha Zschock   

The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Goodnight Octopus by Caleb Burroughs, (which ironically has encouraged Maya to brush her teeth before bed because she wants to "brush, brush, brush" like the octopus!) 

Goodnight Beach by Adam Gamble

Buenas noches luna (the Spanish Edition of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown)

La noche en que tu naciste (the Spanish Edition of On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman)
Siesta by Ginger Fogesong Guy


Popular posts from this blog

Is 5 Little Monkeys Racist?

I’ve seen a lot of Tik Toks debunking children’s nursery rhymes lately. I have two toddlers, so now whenever I hear one of those rhymes, I think about their unsavory origins. But my son loves, loves Five Little Monkeys. He’s just learning to talk, and can almost say it by himself. I’ve thought about telling him to stop singing it since I learned in the original lyrics it’s not monkeys jumping on the bed, but he just gets so much joy from singing it as he jumps up and falls down, I thought... no harm, no foul, right? As long as he thinks the song is about monkeys, it’s ok.  Until my niece came over one day, and the three toddlers were playing on an old mattress we have on the living room floor for them to jump around on. My son asked me to sing 5 Little Monkeys. At first it was cute, because they literally were jumping on the bed, but then I took a good look at the three of them.  My kids are half-Guatemalan but very fair, like I am. Whereas my niece is half-black, and her skin happens

Why You Should Travel with Little Kids

I took my first cross-country road trip when I was six-weeks-old. My parents loaded me up in an old Ford Wagoneer and drove me home from my dad's hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, to my hometown of Ojai, CA. After that, we traveled back and forth between the East Coast and the West Coast every summer of my life. A few times we flew, but most years we loaded up the car with the suitcases, the dogs, and the children and drove 3,000 miles across the country. This early exposure to travel instilled within me a joy of seeing the world, and since that first trip I have visited 34 states and 14 countries. And I hope to share that same joy with my own little ones. Traveling with children can be hard--it disrupts their nap schedules, may involve crossing timelines, and definitely pushes everyone beyond their comfort zones. But seeing different countries and different parts of our country as children gives them a greater appreciation for cultural and regional differences, and it widens their exper

Reflections on Immigrant Life and the American Dream by a New Citizen

  Buenos días estudiantes de sexto grado. Mi nombre es Audelina Barrios, and I am a former student of Fuller Middle School. Soy de Guatemala, y viví mis primeros trece años de mi vida en mi tierra natal, pero desafortunadamente perdí a mis padres cuando tenía 12 años. Mi hermano y yo fuimos huérfanos por un año hasta que tomamos la decisión de empezar nuestro viaje hacia los United States to meet our oldest siblings.  In August of 2014 we finally arrived in the land of our dreams, the United States. During our first 4 months in the US, we lived in New Jersey with my oldest sister, Rosa, and went to a school where ESL didn't even exist. I was paired up with the only Latino in the school y sin saber una palabra en inglés. I felt like an outsider because I had no other friends and like I wasn't even part of the school system.  In January 2015 my older brother Francisco and his wife, Mae, adopted us and we moved to Framingham. My first school in Framingham was Fuller Middle School