At our recent event at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Commissioner Sherri Killins of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care talked about eggplants.
Eggplants? Yes. The vegetable is a central element in a story Commissioner Killins shared about young children and oral language development, a building block of reading. The tale comes from “It’s Not Complicated! What I Know for Sure About Helping Our Students of Color Become Successful Readers,” by Phyllis Hunter, former director of reading for Houston’s public schools.
Hunter describes three mothers grocery shopping one night with their young children. In the produce section, the first passes a display of glistening, freshly sprayed eggplants. “What’s that?” the child asks. The mother, clearly harried and tired and irritated, tells the child to be quiet. “I don’t know,” the mother says. “Don’t ask me any questions.”
Soon another mother and young child pass the eggplant display. “What’s that?” the child asks. (more…)