What can you do with a word? Read it, spell it, say it, picture it, understand it, make a sentence with it, tell a story with it, share it with a friend. Everything starts with a love of words!
I can’t remember when I learned to read, I feel like I always knew. Of course, that is certainly not the case, but because I come from a family of readers and I was determined to always make the library’s wall of readers who read the most books, I learned so many vocabulary words and became part of an Advanced English group and the Future Leaders club in elementary school from my love of reading. I was a shy child, so books and writing was a great escape and I sucked down books like a hungry person hoping to become full. Even to this day, I usually have three or four books on the back burner because I don’t think I can ever read enough.
Now that my first grader is reading, I was able to go through the process of reading to her, reading with her, to her reading to me in a very succinct order. It takes time, but one day it all sort of connects in a child’s young brain and words that looked strange and foreign suddenly appear so easily. This morning as I drove Brooke to school, I had developed a habit of reading the titles of the songs and artists on my radio’s dashboard, and Brooke was quick to point out, “Mom, I KNOW what the words say.” “Oh” The street signs I used to eagerly point out to her are now old hat. I’m excited and happy about it, but I also felt a little….well, useless to her when she so eagerly absorbed and hung on to all the words I taught her. Now I have started to understand how my mom must have felt when I thought I knew more than she did – it’s a double-edge sword of being proud and of letting go of that parenting pedestal you can only cherish for a short amount of time. I’m happy for her even if I silently mourn her recent awe of my knowledge has changed into a skeptical, “How do you know?” phase where she thinks my smarts may all just be a ruse. I was always open of the fact I didn’t know everything, but I do know SOME things, and now it seems like she wants me to prove that I’m smarter than the average bear. HA HA HA.
It comes as no surprise that both Brooke and I enjoyed Christoph Niemann’s book ‘Words’, which has more than 300 words inspired by Dr. Edward Fry’s list of sight words that are paired with striking and playful illustrations by this internationally renowned designer and artist Christoph Niemann. It’s a great way to deepen understanding, to enrich, and to enlighten those learning to read and write English, whether they be children or adults. This compilation of more than 300 words and pictures encourages reading, fuels the imagination, and offers hours of decoding fun. There are so many fun puzzles and connections that make ‘Words’ so meaningful. Homophones, basic punctuation, and an assortment of silly and unusual words are also included to delineate the eighteen sections of the book. I know I don’t know everything, and ‘Words’ is a great way for me to continue my own personal learning journey with my daughter. I hope she never gives up on asking ‘Why’ and ‘How’ and continues to test and question things in life because that, my friends, is the way you LEARN.
Browse the pages to discover words you don’t know (or find a new facet of the ones you do)! Create your own stories or poems by combining words, images, and ideas. Can you think of other words to describe the images, or new drawings to interpret the words? Cover a word with your finger and ask a friend to guess it just by looking at the picture. Or pick a word and draw (or write) what you think happens next. . . . This is an excellent, original, and exuberant teaching tool for parents as well as elementary school teachers, and it will also be useful for ESL programs. Includes an introduction and an index.
About the Author/Illustrator: Christoph Niemann is also the creator of the picture books Subway, The Pet Dragon, and The Police Cloud, as well as the blog Abstract City at www.newyorktimes.com. He has illustrated covers for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the New York Times Magazine. The artist lives with his family in Berlin, Germany, and New York City.
List Price: $ 18.99 (Available through Amazon Prime)