16 December 2009

corner view / italy

corner view / italy:  books

Every week of the school year for the past three years, my daughter has brought a book home from her asilo or preschool.  I'm pretty sure that I was supposed to be reading those books to her all along;  not quite comfortable with that, I've stuck to reading mostly in English . . .  lots and lots and lots of books in English.

Often, the little cotton bag and book spent the week in the car as we traveled here and there, until it was time to bring it in for a trade for the next book.  The early literacy teacher was not too pleased with me:  I've done lots of smiling and nodding in meetings with her.

And now?  Now the book bag at least makes it into the house each week, and when she so chooses, she reads the books in Italian to me.  She's progressed quite well since September. 

However. . . I still stick to the English only & plan to continue to do so.  The literacy teacher thinks it would be wise for me to do otherwise -- to support efforts in Italian rather than read exclusively in English.   I could not disagree with her more . . . so I still smile and nod a lot when I meet with her.  To disagree would be completely useless.

My daughter has learned to read in Italian in spite of my lack of cooperation.  In the meantime, I have  exposed her to beautiful prose with rich vocabulary and varied syntax in my native language, and even a bit of poetry from time to time.  (I've had more than a couple of college courses on this topic, you know . . .  and I was listening during those lectures.  The literacy teacher is not too interested in that.  Too bad.)

For More Corner Views, see Jane in Spain.


  1. Couldn't agree more. And I admire you for just nodding. And well done to M. You know, I think Nicoletta Costa must have a complete monopoly of children literature (picture books) in this country.

  2. I think you're adopting the right approach there.

  3. You have lots to share with her no doubt

  4. I will be the lone sheep here and say that I disagree. Although I too concentrate on reading in English and we live a very English-centric life in our tiny Italian apartment...I do read my daughter books in Italian. It's good for both of us and helps her in school and allows her the opportunity to ask me questions about words or phrases in Italian that she might not understand. I haven't found that it takes away from her English base yet adds another dimension to our learning to live in another culture and language.

  5. Samantha,
    I wish that I could feel confident enough with my Italian to share it with her! If she asks me to read something, then I do it -- I just rarely seek out chances to do so because I know she needs more exposure to rich English.

    Also, the little books from school are pretty simple; it would be like reading a Beginner Reader book to her in English, which I purposefully don't do either because of the simple vocabulary and structures. She can read those when she is ready.

    I think it's important to do what works for each kid and what feels comfortable for each family. At the urging of the teacher, I tried to do it & felt like a fraud. . . so I stopped immediately.

    Thanks for the comment! Love to hear from you.

  6. i couldn´t agree more with you. do you know the munsch series? hugs!