I remember something Lois Burr, former coordinator of Healthy Child Coalition – Central Region, used to tell participants in family literacy program training sessions.
“It’s not rocket science,” she would say.
And I got that.
It’s not something you need to study for. It’s about spending time with your children, eye to eye contact, noticing the physical world around you and drawing your children’s attention to that world. It’s about talking and singing, running and playing, laughing and hugging.
Something very special happens when you read to a child on your lap. Call it attachment. Call it bonding. Call it magic if you want.
It’s very basic feel-good stuff and all you need to know is that it is good for your child.
Then this summer I read a quote by Dr, Louisa Moats, a recognized authority in the United States on how children learn to read and why some children fail to learn.
“It’s not rocket science, but it is,” she said.
It is, but it isn’t. I imagined two children arguing both sides of an issue. Is so. Is not. Is so. Is not.
I also remembered the old television commercial. Certs is a breath mint. Certs is a candy mint. Breath. Candy. Breath. Candy.
The answer to the rocket science conundrum perhaps lies in the resolution of that old commercial.
“It’s two mints in one.”
Think about brain development, the hundreds of thousands of synapses firing away, the connections that are made in those first years of life. Think of the brain maps we have been shown and the presentations we may have listened to in our roles of parent and educator.It didn’t look simple, at least not to me. It looked complicated and scientific. Not the kind of science that results in a rocket, but the kind of science that results in a brain that can develop the concept of a rocket.
And blast off can begin with an equation as simple as parent plus child plus book.