Our blog, titled Simple Yet Meaningful, is inspired by Peter Johnston’s books, Opening Minds and Choice Words. Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Albany, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity (not once but twice) to hear him speak!
Simple Yet Meaningful, the words almost seem like a contradiction. However, the words acknowledge what is (simple – our books are written with simple text for beginner readers) yet what has not been realized (the meaning of the words). Several layers of meaning reveal themselves when time is taken to reread the book a second or third time, converse with another person about the book, and question elements about the story or message or author’s craft. I can assure you wholeheartedly that although reading may be viewed as a solitary activity, it is greatly a social activity too, bringing in various perspectives – another paradox.
Thus, this brings me to Peter Johnston’s books and how we can cultivate a “growth mindset.” It matters tremendously how we speak to children, especially when they are learning to read and for those children who find learning to read challenging. Praising the [reading] process, acknowledging what the beginner reader can do and what the beginner reader has yet to learn, goes a long way towards a positive reading experience.