Just do it!*
When you care enough to send the very best.**
Share moments. Share life.***
These kinds of short phrases capture and solidify important messages in a single utterance that carries with it a much deeper meaning. They create a lasting, positive impression of the campaign that they represent.
We have such things in education, too. For example, the encouragement to Read to Your Child Every Day is an easy phrase heard in many places that’s meant to represent how experiences with books will enrich every youngster’s mastery of language. What’s missing from this phrase, perhaps, is the emphasis that reading to our children every day is just a start. We also need to talk to our children about what we read together because it’s a BEST way to ensure the new ideas and information found in books are explored in young brains. Books open new doors and invite new directions in conversation. They create new opportunities for verbal interactions outside of run-of-the-day banter. Conversation carries the book’s richer language and content out of the pages and into a child’s life.
The reading of any book with a child has maximum value when it’s the beginning of a conversation. That’s not much of a slogan, but that’s what Read to your Child Every Day is trying to capture, I believe.
Talking is Teaching is another standard slogan for getting parents linguistically engaged with their little ones. It is an encouragement to moms and dads to avoid silent stroller rides, or distracted errand running or quiet meals. Talking with children strengthens language and their comfort in carrying on a discussion about something they see as important in their lives. What a powerful tool! … and what fun to use!
In the end, it is strength of a child’s command of language that we seek to nurture when we read or talk to them. Certainly along with that comes a love of books and stories and the wide world of information and ideas that enter a child’s life through the opening of a book. But the power that will continue to benefit children as they grow into adulthood will be their language strengths.
Patting the Bunny or saying “Good Night” to the Moon offer children the non-routine experiences that introduce them to the larger world of ideas they can’t experience directly. That’s a good thing. But when parents stop to point at particular objects or individuals in picture books, and invite a response from their little ones, that’s where a child’s language growth gains traction.
Combining the above two catch-phrases gets closer to what our Tinies really need:
- Unparalleled richness of book language and vocabulary
- Beyond-the-home vicarious experiences that are available only through a breadth of books, and
- Encouragement to launch a conversation that will help them actively grasp the roles they can play in managing their own education and learning.
So, Read with your child every day, Talk about what you read, Relax and have Fun!
*A registered slogan of Nike. **A registered slogan of Hallmark. ***A registered slogan of Kodak. Thanks to all for providing great examples of memorable slogans!