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Parenting Toddlers and Teen-agers for Ultimate Creativity

June 12, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Blog, Reading

Parenting is the ultimate survival sport. For years, you cook meals, dress squirmy bodies, change diapers that even the “Dirty Jobs” reality show guy wouldn’t touch. You bandage cuts, hold scared children in the middle of the night and read “Goodnight Moon” over and over again because it’s your child’s favorite book. You watch “The Land Before Time”,”The Lion King”, “101 Dalmatians”, or “Shrek” millions of times because your child never tires of the movie. You listen to “The Wheels on the Bus” every time you drive your child in the car.

When your child begins school, you help with countless hours of homework — reading worksheets, spelling works, times tables and the inevitable science project, which usually involves letting food grow mold in petri dishes all over your kitchen for 3 weeks.

In all these moments of doing, it is sometimes hard to see the progress and growth your child is making. Then, one day, your child makes up a song, a story, a picture, or a play. You are amazed — astounded — with the sheer creativity of what they have done.

My younger daughter was a slow reader. She didn’t like the regular Junie B. Jones or Magic Treehouse series. It was very hard to find books she had any interest in. Then she had a 2nd grade teacher who spent time helping her find the kind of books she liked. It took awhile. There were a lot of false starts. She had a quirky sense of humor. She just wouldn’t read a book she didn’t like. Slowly, but surely, she and her teacher found books she would read. She started to read more on her own. She started to seek different books out. Her vocabulary and reading ability grew. In 3rd grade, she lucked out and had a teacher who loved to read books to the class. The teacher did such a great job of making the characters come alive, my daughter would check out the books the teacher brought to life in the classroom and read them on her own.

In addition, my daughter had difficulty with spelling. She hated doing spelling tests. Every week was a struggle. It made no sense to my daughter that words aren’t spelled the way they sound. Then she entered 5th grade. Her teacher expected the kids to learn Latin and Greek root words for spelling. This teacher challenged her in a new way to improve her spelling. She pushed my daughter to play with new words and descriptive sentences in her writing.

So last night, while I was fixing dinner, she started singing a song. She made it up on the spot. She was playing around with words and rhymes and the tune, “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” She was making up spectacular word sentences. She sings very fast, so I proved the words for you to read what she is singing.

Here is a video of her song:

Here are the words:

Sing to the tune of “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”

If you’re a dog, wag your tail like you just don’t care.
If you’re a cow, stomp your feet before you turn to meat.
If you’re a duck, flap your wings and learn how to sing.
If you’re an an-i-mal.

If you’re a worm, wiggle round to turn the soil brown.
If you’re a bee, when you sting make sure somebody screams.
If you’re a rabbit, flap your ears and then you’ll hear the cheers.
If you’re an an-i-mal.

If you’re a lion, when you roar, you’ll never hear a snore.
If you’re a zebra, show your stripes, make sure they’re not all white.
If you’re a frog, scratch your tongue and follow everyone.
If you’re an an-i-mal.

If you’re a horse, run fast and you’ll never be last.
If you’re a turtle, don’t worry. We’re in no hurry.
If you’re a bear, show your teeth, and please don’t eat me.
If you’re a giraffe, look up there. You’re way up in the air.
If you’re an an-i-mal.

All those moments you help your child learn — MATTER. It may be years before you see where it all leads. You definitely need the help of some caring, creative teachers and mentors who take the time to help find your child’s unique learning style. Every little game, song and story you play with your child is one cobblestone in the amazing road that your child walks to discover his or her own strengths and gifts. Enjoy the journey. There is nothing more important for you to do.

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