Thursday, June 11, 2015
Reading to Babies
Something that I am passionate about it reading to children. I also love teaching my children how to read. But more important is to have them fall in love with reading. One of the best ways is to start young. I read to Gandalf when he was in my tummy. I wanted him to recognize my voice and possibly even the book I chose. (Which I have no evidence that he did) We read to him as a baby. Grady read him Harry Potter. I read him board books. Naturally he loved to read from an early age.
One time we were in our pediatrician's office and a lady approached us about wanting to read to our son. I said, "Go for it.." After the story she told us our son was very advanced. And as first time parents, we thought so too. (Gandalf's Asperger's really did help him focus intently on things he loved and he has an amazing ability to remember things) The lady in the office asked if we read to him. I replied, "Of course, daily. And usually at least 20 minutes." (So much easier to do when you only have one child) She gave us a helpful paper that showed Developmental Milestones of Early Literacy. Gandalf, I think, was about 9 months. And she even gave us a free board book. We told her thanks and kept waiting for our appointment.
She then approached another parent with a child much older than our son and offered the same story. I wasn't trying to listen, but there was no other noise or distraction. She asked him if they ever read to their child. He responded, "No, she's just a baby..." My heart broke! Not just that this baby wasn't getting read to but the idea that babies don't need to be read to.
I don't want to make anyone feel bad if they feel they aren't reading enough to their child. And maybe it has never crossed your mind that you should read to your child/baby. I just hope I can encourage others on how important books and reading are to our children's development. When babies hear the flow of a story they better understand language. When you label and point out objects in a book it increases their vocabulary. When you read to a child they have your attention, your focus. They are usually in your arms or on your lap. When you read to your baby they learn to love stories and literature. And our lives our blessed when we read.
If you are reading to your baby and they don't seem to love it, don't despair! Keep it simple. You don't have to read what is written. You can edit and shorten. You can just point out pictures. If your baby would rather climb all over the place and play you could read them a book while they do that. Hearing your voice and hearing the story will help them. Listening to rhythms will help them. You are doing a great job! Just keep trying. And if they only ever use the books as ramps for their cars, that is great too. Some children take longer to learn to love reading.
For more information check out this site.
I know reading has helped my children so much! School work is so much easier. And I love that we can share our love for reading. I love that I have to go in late at night sometimes and tell them it's time to put the book down. I love telling them, "No opening your library books till we are in the car and you are buckled!" for fear of them walking in a parking lot with their nose in a book. These are great problems to have. I love sharing stories I love with them! If you have more than one child enlist their help to read to baby brother or sister. I hope these milestones help you as you read to your children. I love asking my kids questions about the books we read. I love that all four of my children so far LOVE to read. And if it isn't their favorite thing, keep encouraging them. Tomorrow I will share some tips on raising readers...
Here is some of our favorite books.