Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ice-cream and Literacy

I was just reading an article emerging language and library story time. But my mind kept wandering, playing back a scene that I witnessed this afternoon.   A charming little girl was being treated to ice-cream by her grandmother.  The girl was talkative yet obedient, and was probably about six - just the right size for thinking about reading. And one of those magic moments when reading could start to make sense just drifted right passed her.

Grandma and daughter sat on stools at a table, a bit too far away to really read what was posted above the counter.  Grandma asked the little girl what she wanted, and the girl pointed to a sign above the counter and said "that one, with the stripes!"  Grandma asked a few questions trying to figure out what flavor she might mean, but finally threw in the towel.  "Do you want an ice-cream cone?" she asked.  When the girl nodded enthusiastically Grandma got up from her stool and asked the girl, "So, do you want vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry?" Having heard her grand-daughter request vanilla and chocolate together, Grandma walked got on line at the counter, remonstrating as she walked away, "now don't you move! Don't move from that spot!"

On one hand, this little girl had a wonderful outing with her grandmother.  But on the other hand, it was so sad that I almost committed a monstrous faux pas.  I really wanted to tell the girl and her grandma that they were aloud to walk up to the ice-cream counter and read the names of the flavors!  For so many children, the ice-cream store (or the side of the ice-cream truck) is the most meaningful print they have ever seen.  And to see the names of the flavors (and gaze longingly at the tubs of ice-cream) you have to know it is okay to walk up to the glass and look.

I will go back to the article, but will still be pondering in the back of my mind:  Should I have invited the grandma to let her little girl go up to the case and look at the ice-cream and read the labels?

No comments:

Post a Comment