The television show Sesame Street turns 40 this year.
One of my first school memories is my first grade teacher telling us about this new television show called Sesame Street. My mom was very busy with two little baby girls – my sister Laura was a baby, and Anne would be on the way soon, if she wasn’t already there. I pretty much ignored them. I was almost five years older than Laura, and really didn’t want younger sisters to interfere with my perfect little world of Barbies, dress up, and reading. I loved to write little books, too. I remember liking Sesame Street, but growing out of it pretty quickly. My sisters, however, loved it, and were a better age to appreciate it. While I watched it, my favorites were Kermit the Frog, and Bert & Ernie. I could never quite figure out why Bert was always so grumpy. Squidward has taken his place these days, to Spongebob’s Ernie. But Squidward and Spongebob never taught anyone how to read. It was revolutionary, too- Oscar the Grouch was the first anti-hero I had ever encountered; later came Max in Where the Wild Things Are. (If you don’t know what an anti-hero is, why don’t you research that and get back to me?)
If you have little brothers, sisters, nieces or nephews who are about 3 to 4 years old, please have them watch Sesame Street. My sister Anne could read a newspaper when she was 3 years old. Now, as an adult, she routinely tromps me and Laura on Facebook Scrabble on a regular basis, using words that I didn’t know existed. She’s a kindergarten/first grade teacher in Texas, and she rocks. Laura is super-smart, organizing intense school functions, raising her kids, and all-around amazing mom and friend.
If you didn’t watch Sesame Street when you were little, and feel like you missed out on some early reading opportunities, I’m sorry. But it’s never too late to get hooked. I’m not suggesting you start watching Sesame Street —only, it’s not too late to read. A lot. Of books. Now. Don’t live in a trashcan of ignorance your whole life.