Crazy Mommy Lady

A blog from a mom living on the edge of joy and insanity all at the same time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Learning to Read - The Ordinary Way

My mom and dad were both incredibly busy kids (kids is the right word), in school, working, and with a toddler. In spite of all of that, they managed to find creative ways to spend lots of quality time with me in the most ordinary of ways.

I was born when my mother was 19 years old. She was in her first year of college and my father had been drafted during the Vietnam War. By the time I was old enough to start learning about letters, my dad was out of the army and started school himself on the GI Bill.

Money was tight. My mother used to enjoy nights out by visiting my dad when he was working at Straw Hat Pizza (my dad still boasts that he once served Clint eastwood a beer while working there), where they showed movies for free on one of those old projection televisions. They really couldn't afford to see the theater variety. And I learned all about letters from the paper placemats on the tables.

No, really - I could read before I went to pre-school and I never saw a flash card - just those paper menus at Straw Hat Pizza. Oh - and the greeting cards at the Hallmark Store in the mall. My mother used to take me in the midst of the aisles and aisles of cards, and I would pick one out with a favorite character, or a nice picture of an animal, and she would tell me what it said. Snoopy was my favorite in the day, and so revealing one of his one liners in a greeting card was quite a reward. It was like a llibrary full of knock-knock jokes. Later, when I was a pretty good reader, my uncle used to take me on the same outing to try to pick up girls (more on him in another post).

My parents both finished college, and went on to have five more children (that's right - we're six)! Now that I have my own little pre-reader, I try to be inspired by my own parents way of finding way to learn in ordinary ways. We all want our children to be smart and excel academically. It is my sincere belief, however, that love of learning and self-esteem are the keys to every other kind of learning. Take the pressure off and keep it fun and REAL. The rest will follow.

Gotta go check out some Happy Meal boxes!


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