Kate asked about my kids learning to read, which I will definitely blog about soon - thank you for the reminder!
In the meantime, I wanted to thank Playmobil (and other toy manufacturers) for their free color catalogs. My oldest son (5 years old) simply LOVES looking through toy catalogs. Right now, his favorite is the Playmobil catalog that he picked up from a toy store a few months back. He sits for hours and peruses each page in detail, announcing which things he will want to have in the *near* future. The hilarious part about these catalogs is that they have actually been helping my son learn to read... or better said, helping him WANT to read. He wants to know what each section says and the name for each item. Ok, I know, he does this because then he can say, "Mama, I want to have the 'Zoo Superset' for my birthday!" On some level I feel like I am completely encouraging consumerism. But hey, he's reading! And what better way to use phonics than on a word like Superset!
The additional benefit of the Playmobil catalog is that they list a specific toy number for each item! Yippee! This means, when my son wants something specific, I say, "Ah, interesting. So, what is the name of the item? And what is the item number?" Hee hee. No, I don't ever say he will get the toys. I always say that when his birthday gets closer we can talk about the items again. Plus, later he forgets these details of our discussion after he has moved onto other toys. In the meantime, however, he is very seriously reading words and numbers.
Just a few minutes ago he asked me, "Mama, what does this say?" I asked him to try and sound it out. So, word by word he sounded out "The... new... Tractor... on... the... Farm!" He looked to me for confirmation and then smiled. He repeated it again, "The new tractor on the farm!" and then went onto the next page, proud of having sounded it out all on his own. I mean, look at that page with the words all surrounded by sunflowers and a burst of yellow! Who wouldn't want to sound out those words. They look simply delicious!
So, I say, "thank you Playmobil" for helping the world of literacy. Now, can you make your toys just a little less expensive!? My son has requested the whole Zoo, Farm, Viking and Castle collections... for now. Next month he'll have a new list. Hmmm, actually, now that I think about it, maybe this whole reading thing wasn't such a good idea.