#61 I, Isabel Scheherazade, (and Olivia) make 2,000 pounds of progress (in other words…A TON!!) with Arturo. Actually, this 40 pounder little guy is the one who made the 2000 pounds of progress!!
Arturo’s teacher said that Expert Books might inspire him to switch from signals to speech. So, using a fresh little book, I demonstrate.
Arturo, I flip the pages, I’m going to write about how I’m an expert at patting Miss Mary’s sheep.
Page One: First, get the sheep’s attention (not hard, if they are itchy and see you coming). The sheep will come to you.
(Arturo’s wide-eyed and all-ears as I sketch and talk.)
Page Two: Put your fingers all the way in the fleece, as deep as you can. Rub your fingers back and forth vigorously.
Page Three: Go from one end of the sheep to the other (it doesn’t matter which end you start with). If the sheep wants you to scratch both sides it will turn.
Page Four: If you do it right, the sheep will wag its tail (if it has one).
When I’m done, Olivia asks Arturo, Did you like the book?
He nods YES!
Want to write one, too? An Expert Book?
Arturo nods YES! again.
Olivia says, What are you an expert at, Arturo?
He sighs. (His first noise!) Then he takes the pencil from Olivia and starts to draw.
And, boy, is he good.
He sketches a little kid–curly hair, giant eyelashes, and the one eyebrow–who pulls a book from a bookshelf and carries it to his dad. The dad is at a table, and he’s got his head in his hands. Arturo leads his dad by the hand to the couch where the dad reads the book, and at the end, the dad is smiling, and Arturo is talking. We know he’s talking because Arturo draws a speech bubble and writes a string of random letters and little squiggles in it.
And while he draws? He TALKS! (Funnily enough, his pictures are so good we don’t really NEED words, but, hey, who’s complaining.)
We go ballistic. We show the book around to the class. Arturo “reads” it aloud. After a few minutes of celebrating, Olivia says, This is a really good book, Arturo.
He says, Thanks, Olivia.
I tease him and say, Hey, Arturo, I said it was great, too. We do a finger-pinky pull. Aren’t you going to say thanks to me?
Arturo looks at me with what might be the sweetest smile ever. Thanks, Isabel.
–Isabel Scheherazade, expert at expert books