OK, so at 20 months of age, Taylor Faith is not really reading Max Lucado’s The Crippled Lamb to her grandpa. But I love her facial expression, the sheer seriousness with which she has undertaken her task. And it doesn’t hurt that grandpa has riveted his attention to his little teacher!
Consider what role models have already taught this child. She has the book right side up. She is not playing with the sippy cup or anything else on the table. Although we had breakfast at Panera, she was not distracted by others there. Her body language conveys the concentration level required to read… or at least to study the illustrations! Someone, or rather, many someones, have been reading to her.
Long before the magic occurs, that moment when she realizes that those shapes on the page are letters, that the letters have various sounds both individually and in combination, and that those letters make words that she can read, she will have reading modeled for her hundreds of times. Ask any weary teacher about repeating a skill over and over.
Parents see themselves in the ways their children do the simplest of tasks, like wearing sunglasses, eating vegetables first to get them off the plate, or tipping their head exactly like one of the parents does when the child wishes to avoid telling the whole story.
Years ago Tom Wenger, Sr. watched his namesake place a spoon into the coffee cup at 1 o’clock, stir counter clockwise three times, tap the spoon twice on the side of the cup, and then place the spoon, bowl facing downward on the table. Tom nearly turned white when he realized that he had never consciously taught Tommy to do that intricate maneuver, but it mimicked the exact way father stirred!