Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lovely Lilting Language, Oh Best Beloved

When people meet Ani they are often surprised to find that she is four (and a half!); her vocabulary and turn of phrase are more advanced in some ways than Eliza's, though both girls remember and use new words that they are exposed to quite easily. I have had people ask what we did to produce such a child! Ha...I love that notion, that this wee person could be anyone other than who she is, regardless of the lucky folk who raised her. However, I usually tell them something that just seems so obvious for anyone raising children, but it's the only thing I've come up with: we read. We talk. We tell stories. We play with words. We rhyme all the time. Ani is also particularly fond of the pun, and will pick up on double-meanings, stopping conversation to say, "Get it, Mom? Get it??" She loves silly-sounding words, and was doubled over when we read that a star in my zodiac constellation of Libra was called Zubeneschamale. (We read this a couple of months ago, and she woke me up last week giggling and whispering in my ear: Zuuuubennnneeeschamaaaaleeeeeee)

I mentioned the other day that we scored some good books at the library. We were thrilled to find a book of Danish nursery rhymes called It's Raining, Said John Twaining, translated and illustrated by N. M. Bodecker. There is so much rhythm in the rhymes, and they have me read them over and over and over, joining in as they can. There is one in particular that adds more and more syllables to the names of the story until they are the ridiculous "Sipsippernipsipsirumsip" and "Skratskratteratskratskrirumskrat". Ani has no trouble remembering and executing this one; it's pretty funny. My favorite though by far is one whose refrain is "kritte vitte vit bom bom" - we chant it over and over...
It reminded us of another book we play with a lot, called I Can't, Said the Ant. This rhyming play enters much of our daily fun: "I can't, said the ant. You can, said the pan. You must, said the crust" and so on.

We spent several hours in the last two days listening to Jim Weiss' recording of Kipling's Just So Stories. I remember these from when I was a kid, and I see on Amazon that there are several audio versions of this collection, but we are enjoying this recording so much! The photos in this post show some of what we do while we're listening to the amazing language and rhythm and repetition of this telling.
There you are; if you are in a reading rut and would like the vocabulary of a four-year old, here are my current recommendations. Enjoy, oh best beloved...

1 comment:

Tan Family said...

Wonderful post! I love the felted balls at the end, too. :)