Moments ago, my daughter finished her 39th Magic Tree House book (and will have to wait until September for number 40). Besides meeting her at her zone of proximal development, with plot-driven stories and minimal psychological complexity, they've filled her with just what she needs to cope--in school and in Life.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Facts bout dinosaurs, dingoes, and octopuses; about pirates, knights, and cowboys; about the rain forest, the outback, the arctic, the ocean, the prairie; about the Greek olympics, Vesuvius, the civil and revolutionary wars; about Thomas Edison, Leonardo DaVinci, and William Shakespeare.
All that cultural currency that she's too often too spaced out to pick up from unstructured environments like school (and Life), but does absorb through focused reading.
All that cultural currency that schools no longer teach explicitly, but that surfaces nonetheless in a fleeting, haphazard kind of way--in class discussions, in social studies, and in reading assignments. (Not to mention Life).
The more cultural currency my daughter has in her pocket, the greater the number of familiar references that can attract her fleeting attention in unstructured learning environments.
Stuffing her with facts--far from squelching her creativity and higher-level thinking--thus precipitates the following chain reaction:
The more attentive she becomes (drawn in by all those familiar references), the more she listens.
The more she listens, the more she realizes the virtues of listening.
And vice versa...
And the more she listens to others, the more she ventures out of her own world--however creative and fantastical it is--into those that her imagination has not yet dreamt of.
Any suggestions on what to read next?