Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reading the Met

Veteran's Day.  After  a post-tropical hurricane, and an early snowstorm, Mother Nature gives us a perfect autumn day.  We take the train to the city, walk through Central Park and land in a surprising empty Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We know some little known facts.  The suggested price of $25 admission- is just that- suggested..  And Monday the museum is closed- except if it is a holiday. For $5 each we have the museum almost to ourselves.

We go to the Andy Warhol exhibit.  By room 5 I begin to suffer museum fatigue and sit on the nicely polished wood bench smack in the middle of the room.  A young man and his mother circulate the room.  He reads the words on the explanation cards and those that are part of the pieces with ease and alacrity.  My bench mate is impressed.  "How well this little guy reads," he comments.

Yeah better then my tenth graders.

He reads the Richard Prince piece, “My father was never home, he was always drinking booze. He saw a sign saying ‘Drink Canada Dry.’ So he went up there.”

My bench mate and I compliment the mother.

"He's been reading since he's three," she tells us.  
And then, showing a great deal of reflection, adds, "figuring out what it says is one thing, understanding it is another."

"Like the Canada Dry joke?"  I ask. 

"And I didn't explain it to him either," she adds.

So some five year olds can breeze easily through multi-syllabic words, some tenth graders struggle terribly.

I will sit through another professional development on vocabulary development and literacy  today.  I will hear many good ideas.  But does anything work as well as good genes and landing in a family that knows the Met is free and open on holiday Mondays?

Maybe I should schedule a trip to Met?

I wonder if I could get it approved for vocabulary development?

I bet my tenth graders would get the Canada Dry joke.

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