Last night, we were reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We got to the part where the students were arriving for a new year at Hogwarts and had just finished their feast. Dumbledore stood up and started going through the notices. He first mentioned that Mr. Filch had put three more banned items on the list of items that could not be brought to school and his mouth “twitched.” I asked Lucas if he knew what that meant and he shook his head. I explained that Dumbledore was trying to control himself and not laugh at Mr. Filch’s absurdity. That made me think about how many different expressions kids have to learn in order to read English fluently (or any language for that matter). How amazing is it that children learn all of these things without mentioning most of them to us. Language is learned through many different media – hearing, reading the written word, and watching body language when someone speaks. As I contemplated Lucas’ reaction to Rowling’s description of Dumbledore, I ran through so many things in my head, even how Shakespeare was originally intended to be heard, not read. How much easier would it be to understand certain pieces of literature if they were taught using the correct medium?
How do you teach your kids to understand English? I’m curious.