Sunday, January 6, 2013

Thanks Baba Ed! -- by Josh

My parents were recently in town and we had an absolute blast.  It got me thinking about the importance of grandparents and extended family in general.  It was fantastic to be able to have people around who I can inherently trust. I could send Max off to taekwondo practice, or off to school, and know that all was well.
We got to go out to a baseball game and had a great time.  Baba and Max even became twins of sorts, the first ever Rousculp Gigantes fans. 
Max is inseparable from his new Gigantes hat.
However, I've been pondering the even greater gift that Baba gave to Max last year.  When they had visited last December, book-loving-Baba gave his grandson a copy of the award-winning kids' book The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  It is a massive book of 533 pages and for months Max wouldn't look at it.  It was just too intimidating.  The thing is, it's actually 90% pictures, but still, 533 pages!
  Finally, one day Max was chillin' around the house and decided to pick it up.  He sat spellbound for three days and when he did talk to others it was to update us on his progress: "I'm already on page 246!"  "I just reached page 392 and it's only been a couple of days!  Can you believe I can read this much?" 
Max even passed the book on to our friend Mark with his highest recommendations.  Mark made a special point of letting Max know that it only took him a day to read it, but Max was still proud.
The point is, that was a watershed moment for my son. Before that, Max was a reticent-reader.  I had the hardest time getting him to partake of our fair selection of titles, though of course we would read together every day. 
After finishing the book from Baba, he couldn't wait to get his hands on new titles.  Not only that, he was finally putting into practice all the reading strategies he'd been bombarded with by his teacher-parents.  He was sharing his thoughts on the different texts, making connections, talking our ears off.
Then, he started to get really confident and made a special request:
Would we consider letting him read Harry Potter 4?
 He'd been begging us to read it to him for a while, since we wouldn't let him watch the movie version, but now he'd realized that he didn't need anyone else to read to him.  Even a title as daunting as Harry Potter was within his reach.  Of course, if he bragged a lot after reading Hugo Cabret, you can imagine what tackling a 700-page novel with only a handful of pictures would do for his confidence.
Now he's unstoppable.  He has been devouring books left and right and can't wait to help out in the library once it opens.  The trick now is to get him into reading in Spanish, which is gradually getting easier. 

So, as you can see good old Baba Ed has given something that will last longer than any toy or baseball hat to my dear little kiddo.  Now, where's Max?  He's supposed to read us our bedtime story tonight!

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