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October 28, 1988 - Image 75

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-28

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A Toast
To Jewish Living

Books: The Blessed Vehicles Of Jewish Learning

Rabbi Daniel Polish is senior
rabbi of Temple Beth El and the
author of this month's 'To Our
Readers.' For each issue of
L'Chayim, a rabbi, a Jewish
educator or other notable will
present an overview of the month's

There are moments, when you
are a parent, when a little thing will
fill you with pride and joy, and
maybe even bring an inexplicable
tear to your eye. Once, when my
son was just a young boy, I saw him
drop a book. Then he stopped, bent
over, picked it up and kissed it.
Such a simple gesture, and still so
filled with meaning and resonance.
Where did this little boy learn to
kiss a fallen book? And then I
realized, he learned it from watching
Whenever I drop a book — all
the more so, a holy book — I could
not pick it up without kissing it. And
I, where did I learn to do such a
thing? I learned it from my
grandfather whom I never met. He
died before I was born, but his
person, and his personality were
almost like a legend forme. My
mother and grandmother would tell
me about him, and talk of his
wonderful qualities. Among his
actions which I learned second
hand while still very young was this
particular reflex. He was one who
loved Jewish tradition and Jewish
literature. He was enamored of the
Hebrew language. So he kissed
fallen books.
And whence did he learn it? I
do not know. But I assume that he
learned it from those who went
before him. It most likely was not an
- idiosyncratic gesture. For it is so
much in keeping with the character
of the Jewish people; with our love
of learning, our reverence for those
blessed vehicles of learning —
The Jewish people have been
called "people of the Book." But

Continued on Page L-2

Reading To Children Has Many Benefits

It isn't enough for teachers to
exhort parents to read to their
children. They have to get specific
and tell parents how and how long,
as well as spell out the benefits that
have been proven by research, says
Rhoda McShane Becher, an
associate professor of elementary
and early childhood education at
University of Illinois, Champaign.
Instead of generalizing about
the glories of reading aloud, parents
should cite studies showing that
informal homestyle reading sessions
produce increases in children's
vocabulary, sentence length, letter
recognition, comprehension skills
and in their interest in reading.
Researchers also find that

listening to stories introduces
children to a wide variety of
language patterns, while watching
the reader gives children the
foundaton for understanding the
reading process, Prof. Becher
The busiest, least motivated
parents may be inspired to start
reading aloud when they hear that
sessions need not be long to do
some good.
Research shows that children
who were read to only eight to 10
minutes at a sitting, at least four
times a week, reached higher levels
of reading achievement than
youngsters whose parents didn't
read to them.

Another study revealed that
parents of young gifted children
read to them an average 21 minutes
per day, whereas children of
average intelligence were read to an
average of eight minutes a day.
In another study, children
whose parents had been specifically
requested to read to their
youngsters every day for three to six
months before kindergarten entry
scored significantly higher on
reading readiness tests than
youngsters whose parents had not
been asked to read aloud regularly.
Parents who expect children to
"keep quiet and listen" when they
read aloud are on the wrong track,

Continued on Page L-2

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