Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Early Literacy

Jane has always had books around.  Before she was born Michael and I went to the store and picked up a few of our favorite baby books to prepare for her arrival.  It was a fun activity that I still think about.  It was the beginning of her childhood library that has since grown by leaps and bounds thanks to helpful donations from family members and the inevitable gifts from holidays.  Now Jane has a plethora of books.  She's "lousy" with books.  Books are coming out her ears.  Her room looks like a book explosion!  And I'm okay with that.

It seems like only in the last few months Jane has really started picking up on the fact that Mommy works in a library, aka a place with lots of books.  Sometimes she asks if she can come to work with me, which is adorable, and she never seems undeterred by the fact that I have never taken her before (at least, not when I was on the clock).  When I tell her no, she is disappointed, of course.  Usually the only way I can help her feel better is to ask her if she would like me to bring home some books.  She always says yes!

So lately I have been picking up two or three books and bringing them home after work.  If Jane is still awake, we sit on the couch and read all of the books immediately after I walk in the door.  She enjoys hearing the stories once or twice, and then she's okay with me taking them back.  She's gotten used to the fact that they have to go back to the library now.  New books are exciting to her, and she will always, always say yes to a book.

Obviously, Jane has a love of reading.  And I have to say, I love that she has a love of reading.

Michael and I have read so many books to her.  A few years ago I came across a study that said children - even babies - who are read to daily, even if it's just one book, are much more likely to become readers later on and subsequently do better in school and lots of other things.  So we read to Jane everyday.  Reading is part of the bedtime routine, even though usually we have already read a few books by then.  We are also starting to read to Colin everyday and I see him go to the bookshelf now to pull down a book, sit with his little legs sticking out, lay the book in his lap and flip through the pages.  It's adorable, and I'm proud that he is learning the logistics of how to move through the pages of a book and that each page has something different and interesting.

Today I came across a cute article called "10 Tips for Reading With Baby."  All of the suggestions are good, especially the last one, "Start as early as you want."  Seriously.  There is no "too early" when it comes to reading to children.  The tone of your voice and the rhythm of the words are soothing and even at birth you are starting to build pathways in their brain with everything you do (studies show that newborns are capable of learning even immediately after birth!).  Not to mention all of the quality time and snuggles. :) 

So, how you do like to read to your kids?  Before bed?  Do you read to them all at once or just one at a time?  Do your kids have any favorite books?