Many of my friends who are lovers of Waldorf education own a seasonal series by Gerda Muller that is most enchanting. It depicts a family enjoying the seasons in a series of wordless and timelessly illustrated little board books. They are truly special little books.
But I wanted to share with you another, slightly less well known, series of board books that celebrate the seasons: Eugenie Fernandez' Kitten series. Her incredible mixed media style is just exquisite. Natural elements are incorporated into each scene and we love searching for the kitten as we read .... Now, hold up, hold up... "Board books? Isn't my preschooler too old for board books?" If this thought came to mind you're in good company. It's crossed my mind too and I have even separated most of our board books out of the main collection intended for the exclusive use of my toddler. However, I'm rethinking this because every once in a while my preschooler will plunk herself down in front of a pile of board books and have a good old read. Why?
Here's my hypothesis:
Having been read hundreds of times, there's a familiarity about board books which suits the needs of Little Readers. Having memorized most of the text of these books, my preschooler is actually reading the words correctly without having even learned to recognize all of the letters of the alphabet yet. "Yes, yes. But that's not real reading," you might say. And I'm here to tell you: Oh yes. Yes it is. It's reading alright. Your little one doesn't have to know how to sound out letters and string together phrases to be reading. Just by repeating memorized words, by letting the images suggest stories to her, by taking delight in the old battered pages, by cuddling up on your lap, by doing all the voices, your little one is starting to become literate and is developing a life-long love of reading.