I have never taught within a school system, but I was a teacher in the field for many years and I am both a lifelong student and an educator at heart. I create my books for sharing and learning. My aim is to help inspire love and respect for the natural world, to promote a sense of caring for the environment, and to nurture compassion for all life. This includes shining a light on pathways and perspectives that foster personal wellbeing and health-giving habits of body, heart and mind.
Although these pathways are best embarked upon when young, we continue to travel them throughout life. No surprise, then, that I view children’s books as learning tools for all ages. After all, don’t we all learn better when surrounded by beauty, fun, and playful creativity? Has any one of us really outgrown the enjoyment of learning through lovely pictures and simple sentences? I know I haven’t. Keeping that playful inner spirit active throughout life helps us stay upbeat in the face of challenges. It helps life remain fresh and, well, alive.
I write books with reading aloud in mind. Listening to books being read aloud and reading books out loud to others is a special kind of sharing that helps children develop their speaking and writing skills. We hear language spoken before we learn to speak. The words we hear being spoken around us are the same words and phrases that will spring from our lips later on. We learn the language of writing in the same way. The words and phrases we absorb as young readers inform those that will one day flow from our pens and keyboards.
Reading aloud brings other gifts as well. The shared experience between mentor and child forges a bond that helps the child grow. So please take time to read aloud to your children, your students. Encourage them to read out loud to you and each other. Reading aloud is more than just reading; in the words of PBS Hawaii, it’s a relationship!