Sunday, November 4, 2012

Late Starters

From almost the moment that Raphaela was born, I started reading her books.  Maybe it was more like Maisy's Bedtime and less like Tolstoy, but Raphaela became a book hound early in life.

The library near our house had been closed for several months because of renovations, and finally re-opened at the beginning of November.  When I picked up Raphaela from Gan today,  I told her that we would be attending the grand reopening of the library, and that we would be able to borrow two new books for the house.

My daughter screeched in joy and literally danced all the way to the library.

As we left with our books in hand, I witnessed the following conversation in Hebrew between and Israeli woman and her son, a boy of approximately four years old:

Mother:  I have to show you something very important, do you know what this place is?
Boy:  No I don't know.
Mother: This place is called a library, a place where you can borrow books and take them home, and when you are done, you exchange them for other books at the library.
Boy:  (Silent)
Mother:  Would you like to try the library some day?
Boy:  (With no particular enthusiasm) Sure, why not?

It must be a cultural issue, but I find it difficult to believe that a four year old has never been exposed to the concept of libraries and - horrors - reading for fun, and I wonder (without judgement of other's parenting choices) what he does at home to keep himself entertained.


Commenter Abbi said...

Each municipal gan usually has a small library of its own that lends out books to kids weekly. Also, many libraries have very inconvenient days and hours.

Personally, I find it difficult to make it to the library with all 4. My husband usually take the 2 olders. Suffice it to say, my older two are avid readers even though we never made the library a habit. And I think on average, Israelis read many more books than Americans, despite the limited library culture.

Nicole said...

We read huge numbers of books in our house, but don't go to the library. Inconvenient location and hours, limited to two books you can take at a time, etc.
If we are running late for bedtime, and I say there isn't time for a book, my 4yr old will be very upset and will beg me for a short one.

Ariela said...

We read lots of books but all have a hard time parting with them. That means we mostly buy books and I am not sure what my little one knows about the library (but he loves books).
See what the book "Freakonomics" says about taking kids to libraries.

Sarah said...

Maybe they just moved to the city. Maybe the kid is too active to enjoy sitting and listening to a story. Or maybe it is a cultural thing.

When I taught in the inner city in New York, I had MANY students who had never been inside a bookstore. There weren't any bookstores in their neighborhoods.

When I lived in Washington Heights, a friend went into Columbia hospital and her husband had to come to my house to borrow books for her because there was no place to buy books anywhere in that swath of Manhattan. It's very sad.