Monday, June 7, 2010

for the children...

I just want to take this moment, given that I've had really good traffic on this site today, to mention the people who read for library story times and who perform puppet shows and do all that other stuff with those kids that I personally do not want to be near... My understanding of the benefits of what you do is a little simplistic, but...

I do tech stuff. I teach; I put crap online; I make all kinds of thingies using my compooter. But I could never read to kids. Not that I don't like kids because yes, I don't like them, but that's not the reason I can't read to them. Frankly, they terrify me. They leak, they smell, and they seem to do whatever the hell they want without consequence. And regardless of whatever amount of piss and snot they leave behind, most adults just laugh and think they're wonderful. But not me. I don't know where they've been, so I don't want them anywhere near me or my stuff.

But my girlfriend does this. I have a great appreciation for the job my girlfriend does. She reads books to kids because their parents don't have the time to do it. Or maybe because they don't know that they should do it. But whatever the reason, she does it because the kids need it.

And don't try to tell me they don't. They want someone to pay attention to them, even if it's just to tell them to shake an egg or bang two sticks together. Or to just smile at them and not yell about anything.

From what I understand about kids and their mushy little brains is that they need to be shown how the world functions. They need examples to follow. So reading to a kid shows him that this event he's watching is related to what he's hearing. That the pictures and the sounds and the symbols on the pages and the reactions from the person reading and all the other people around him are all related, that they mean something. Pictures. Sounds. People. Symbols. And that helps that mushy brain develop.

I just want to let you know that the people who read to kids and cut out hundreds of butterfly wings and cat ears and who clean up the glitter and glue are not forgotten whenever I write about library issues. They probably don't teach kids how to use iPads or use Twitter, but they teach literacy and they start kids on the road to reading and the love of books.

And without them, we might not have the library-loving adults who pay my salary today. And for that I thank you.