What is "reading" if it can be said you can read delicious nonsense?

My usual blipverting led me far and wide today but as usual pedagogy seems topmost. Personally, I have no recall of learning how to read. If memory were something to trust, I'd say I was a favor pupil in 1st grade. I attended a traditional public school for the first year and a half whereupon I disembarked and landed at Campus School, a place that was far from typical I imagine. It was what I've learned to call a lab school; as students, we worked at our own pace, had contracts, and one year report cards involved a color code instead of letters. It was the mid-70s. The first book, I recall is a hardcover about the Duke of Windsor and his abdication; I imagine its image and its subject stays with me because it's a book that I defaced, i.e., as a young child I wrote in it. Books have always been major characters in my life. And, now I'm dealing with the mind of a 6 year old as he grows literate, or resists that eventuality. But I had a small victory today when he settled on a Zoobooks about little cats after having subjected me to countless queries as whether he could afford one of a gazillion toys he'd shown me (he'd brought his own money since I'd made it clear the day before that I wouldn't buy him anything--and then purchased a small bag of as many rocks as would fit into it. (Afterwards in the car on the way home from the Children's Museum I even turned it into a math moment with us each guess at the quantity. ) I didn't have to exert much pressure, a mere nudge in pointing out how many toys had broken shortly after purchase; he even baited me and said that he got what I was trying to do--not buy a toy--but he still bought the magazine. One point for the reading team. More often than not, the child and I battle over what is possible. He feigns incomprehension. And, now I realize that I should point out that yes, he may not know a word but he could try decoding it... The power of such a simple idea is re-affirmed with "What is Reading? Decoding and the Jabberwocky's Song. Negotiating with a six year old who claims not to know how to read words I know he knows is a f-t job. Or perhaps R.D. Laing put it plainer, "If I don't know I don't know, I think I know. If I don't know I know, I think I don't know." Trying to be mindful of his perspective. And obsess less. Take a break now and read Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky". Follow it up with "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut: The Story of a Wicket Woof and a Ladle Gull", aka the jabberwocky for kids. And cap it off with english is tough stuff.

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