Friday, October 16, 2009

Reading the signs

The other day on the subway, I noticed some ads.

PizzaPizza’s ad said, simply:
XL craving?

and Bell’s said:
More 3G coverage.
Facebook anywhere.

So let’s say you’re a child who’s just learning to read.

These examples do two things:
1) They illustrate just how difficult reading can be. And tricky!
2) They’re a terrific learning opportunity.

You can talk about how XL means “extra-large,” and that it’s usually a label for clothing. But here, they’re applying it to – not pizza, but appetite. You can talk about how X can refer to other things like “a kiss” or even “Christ” (as in Xmas).

Ask your child what they think the ad means, and why PizzaPizza would use the short form rather than the whole phrase “extra-large.”

Bell’s ad is more cryptic, and requires the reader to know a lot more about what’s being sold. You can talk about how some ads are written just to appeal to certain audiences, like teenagers. So if someone doesn’t understand an ad, it may just be that it’s not targeting them.

And then you can both go out and get an XL pizza.

I actually just had pizza for lunch. Come to think of it, in our household it’s not really that tough to encounter that particular co-incidence. Clearly, we eat too much pizza chez nous.


Christina said...

I'm loving these recent posts. Giving us information to use in helping our children read. Also, I was grateful to know that most
1st graders don't read well. Mine does, but my second child isn't following the same pattern and so sometimes I worry. I'm sure she's fine, just different.

Joyce Grant said...

Thanks so much for the feedback - that's really helpful.
I'll do a post with "next steps" after the "learning the alphabet" stage.
In terms of your second child, what you'll probably find is that she'll have an "a-ha" moment and her reading will just take off. But that might not be right away.
In the meantime, take the pressure off yourself and just enjoy reading and looking at books together.