“Hello.” “Hello.” “Do you like my hat?” “No I do not like your hat!” “Good bye” “Good bye”
I remember the words written by P. D. Eastman off by heart – even though it is close to half a century since I first delighted in the words and pictures of ‘Go Dog Go’. The book was published in 1961 and I was born only a few years later. My earliest memories were of turning its pages carefully and sitting for hours – sounding out the words and exploring the pictures.
(Side note: How often do we give books to little children to explore? – I lament the electronic baby-sitters aka the iPad.)
Not only is it the first book I can remember, it is the first book I could read. I would return to it, daily, weekly and over the years delighting in words, color and the smallness of the details in the book. It was about work, play and celebration.
I tried to trick the dogs pictured by only half turning the page to see if whilst the book was closed those naughty little tricksters would get up to more mischief. I never caught them.
I would peer at the “dog party” double page at the end of the book over and over again – I still don’t tire of it – seeing all the individual celebrations going on.
Without this book I might not have learned that reading is fun, exciting and a celebration. I might not have learned that finishing a book has its own rewards.
I kept my copy of the book and it was one of the first books I read with my children – both of them delighted as I had been when they could grasp the words. It was simply a marvel watching them experience exactly what I had as a child.
This is what I learned:

  • How to tell a short succinct story – with a big ending
  • That color is enticing
  • The importance of goal setting and celebration
  • How to be brief – why use 50 words when 5 will do?
  • I learned to love reading… and that has forever changed me

There are many great programs such as Room to Read which helps kids get a strong start in literacy. It is worth taking a look  – because it is very easy to help.
This post first appeared as part of the LinkedIn Influencer Content

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