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Sheinelle Jones shares the creative way her grandmother taught her how to read

It's the "little things" you can do with kids that make a big difference.
/ Source: TODAY

Sheinelle Jones shared the moving way her grandmother taught her how to read on the 3rd hour of TODAY Wednesday, and it wasn't by reading books.

Alongside co-hosts Craig Melvin and Dylan Dreyer, Sheinelle shared a recent article that grabbed her attention.

“It might be controversial, but I hope it’s encouraging for some,” she said. “The headline says, ‘It’s OK If Your Kid Doesn’t Learn To Read This Year.’”

Sheinelle said the writer of the piece explains that her son, halfway through kindergarten, still doesn’t know how to read.

“There are a lot of parents around the country who are concerned, quite frankly, that they’re not learning as much,” Sheinelle said.

Admitting she felt ready to cry, Sheinelle shared a portion of the article that stood out most.

“Remember, reading is also looking at a menu or a street sign,” she read.

“One of the ways I learned to read, which I credit, is my grandmother,” Sheinelle said. “We would drive around the city and I would beg to get in the car and name street signs. And it seemed so simple, but I look back now and she would turn on Lou Rawls and we would drive around the city.”

Toddler Sheinelle Jones with her grandmother, Jo Brown. Sheinelle Jones / TODAY

Sheinelle joked her grandmother Jo Brown would tee her up for "tough ones."

“It was so silly, but it was free, it wasn’t in a book, and we would drive all over the city. And so there are little things you can do with your kids, your grandkids to help them learn that's not a textbook,” she said.

It's not the first time Sheinelle has celebrated the impact her grandmother has had on her life.

"Her biggest piece of advice lately is to bloom where you’re planted,” Sheinelle said in a 2018 segment about advice from grandparents. “That means no matter what you’re doing — you may not want to do that in that moment, or you’re in school and you don’t want to be in that class — but just take it and make the best of it. And life seems to kind of work out.”

Sheinelle credits her grandmother (seated) for teaching her how to read as a kid. TODAY

Recently, Sheinelle got a tweet from the Wichita History Museum, sharing that her grandma had been part of a historic women's book club in Kansas.

"I know my grandmother loves books, but I didn’t know she was part of a historic book club," she told TODAY Parents. "She was also the first Black woman ever elected to our local school board in Wichita. So getting a solid education was a big deal for me growing up.

"At the time, I was just a kid having fun in the car with my grandma."