Ah, the joy of reading to children! I was discussing with a new friend of mine , Miss Vickie, about our chosen profession, Children’s Librarianship. At almost the same time, we both said “There isn’t a better way to make money, than by reading to children!”
To us, and many others, this is true! What a joy to see children watching and listening as you give life to a book, secretly sharing one or two or more early literacy components, seeing them squirm, and bringing them back into the story by asking a question. Surely this is a form of Heaven here on Earth!
Then I went to my class at UWM on Adult Services, and we had readings on Adult Learning. How similar the way we should be teaching adults and the way we teach children!
We make the assumption (many of us), that adults already know how to learn, that we do not need to be as patient, or caring, or non-judgemental with them -they are adults! We (again, some of us), ass u me (Felix Unger), that adults have the life experiences and have learned the basics. They SHOULD know what to do!
Of course, if they knew what we were teaching, they wouldn’t be there! Many older Americans are turning toward us [libraries] for help with something as simple as email. How to work a cell phone. How to take a simple digital photo, upload it and send it to their children.
We live in an age of technology. Like it or not. It doesn’t care. Technology is here to stay. I happen to love it (most of the time), and I want others to enjoy it, to put it to work for them.
So as you put together your adult programming, think to yourself, this is MY Mom or Dad, they want to see pictures of MY kids (or cat – you know). Embrace them and help them, the rewards are the same as reading to a child, or helping them to learn something new.
Just be respectful, polite, and empathetic. “Walk a mile in their shoes.” Remember that many of today’s elderly gave up a lot during World War II, so that we might enjoy our freedom today.