Originally published in 1977. Learning to read is probably the central educational achievement of any child's life. It is also a central concern for parents and teachers. Leila Berg, known for her work in children's literature, believes that the enjoyment of books and the acquisition of reading and writing is not primarily an academic or a technical skill, but grows from a warmly physical and emotional base of shared enjoyment with another human being. This book traces the varied ways that babies learn to communicate, and discusses the place of books in the lives of different groups in the community. It examines the types of books used in school, and demonstrates that, in many cases, books themselves provide the major inhibition to the development of reading through their stilted and often formalistic vocabulary. The author's aim is that all children's first experience of reading should be a loving and sensuous one, so that they can come to discover the power of books themselves.
Table of Contents
1. Kit, Martha and Emily 2. Round and Round the Garden 3. Three Together 4. Words and Welcomes 5. Open Sesame! 6. Bodies and Books 7. 'That's Me!' 8. Words are True 9. 'Dear Billy...' 10. The Child and the Tigers 11. Frogs or Pearls 12. Surviving the Siamese Cat 13. Factory Babies 14. Explorers Keep Out 15. Access to Lions 16. 'Hurry Up' and 'Don't Touch' 17. Do Teachers Cuddle? 18. I'll Tell You what You Like 19. Gnomes are all Right 20. 'My Dad!' 21. Filthy Fish and Chips 22. The Appalling Accusative 23. What is a Sprout? 24. Going to the Right Places 25. Soft Nees, Hard Art. Afterword: Wendy House at the Tate