Reading to your kids
I read this article on MSN today and was again amazed that people would ask such a stupid question. Of course you should read to your children!
My sister-in-law's kids are always having trouble in school. We went to her house the other day and my husband and I noticed the same thing. No books! For people who have several bookshelves full of books, including one just for our 22 month old, this was shocking and sad.
My daughter loves nothing better than reading. She'll bring us the same three books twenty times a night and ask us to read them.
Does anyone else have thoughts on reading to your kids? Why do some people not think its important?
Do Babies Need Books?
They coo, they cuddle... but can they really enjoy books?
By Kate Jack
The answer is a resounding "yes!" As Gopnik, Meltzoff, and Kuhl, authors of The Scientist in the Crib note, "Babies know important things about language literally from the time they are born, and they learn a great deal about language before they ever say a word." Numerous studies confirm that reading to infants not only boosts speech and language development, but overall intelligence as well. When you read to your baby, you set the stage for a lifetime of literacy.
Taking those important first steps towards raising a reader doesn't have to be a challenge. Below are some answers to commonly asked questions to help you on your way.
How do babies use books?
Babies love to observe. Every time you read to your baby, you reinforce basic reading concepts, such as turning pages and following text from left to right. As you read a book together, point to the pictures, name them, and talk about them. As your infant grows, he will imitate you by turning pages or pointing to objects.
Babies also like to be held and spoken to. And books provide the perfect opportunity for them to learn about speech patterns and how to make sounds. When you read to your child, think of it as a conversation. Make the experience fun and interactive -- describe the colors you see, ask questions, convey emotions. Consider that each book is a new world for you to explore.
How can I be sure that my baby enjoys reading?
Books provide vital one-on-one time for you and your infant. Through the sound of your voice and the warmth of your body, your baby will come to think of reading as a pleasurable activity.
Even as your child becomes more active and begins to venture off your lap, she will still appreciate the routine of snuggling together to read. She will probably want to read the same story over and over, and it's best not to dissuade her. Remember that the familiarity of a favorite bedtime story can provide comfort and security, and the repetition -- while sometimes boring for you! -- helps your baby to build her vocabulary and comprehension.
What kind of book is best for infants?
Newborns see things best from about a foot away -- or the distance from your face to your baby's while you're holding him. So it's best to select books with high-contrast images. Black-and-white illustrations and patterns (stripes, polka dots, checkers) provide plenty of entertainment for infants of this age.
To stimulate older babies, look for books that require some manual dexterity. Lift-the-flap books, touch-and-feel books, and chunky board books sized for little hands are both fun and challenging. Books that offer a variety of textures introduce your baby to the difference between fuzzy and hard, smooth and rough.
Most babies do not have the attention span required for lengthy picture books, so stick to simple text and rhymes accompanied by vivid pictures. Also, sturdy construction is important -- you want books that will last!
Remember that while babies aren't born book lovers, they are born learners. And the more you read to them, the more they learn. They learn to love the feel of the pages in their hands (or their mouth), the sound of your voice, the beauty of the illustrations the joy of a good book.
My daughter is 26 months old and my wife and I have been reading to her since she was only a few months old. She must have close to 100 books and she loves them. If she had to pick a favorite "toy" it would be her books. She will constantly bring a book over to me to read to her, and when my wife or I aren't available, she will sit by herself and look at the pictures. It is a great way to help her to learn the names of different objects and to make connections. Now that she is getting older she is starting to make connections between the pictures and the words printed under them. (or at least the fact that the writing represents words to say - she points to the words and says what she thinks they might mean)
Momma never read to me. :sad
We started reading to each of our children very early in their lives, and each one developed a love of reading to varying degrees. Most notably, my three-year-old learned his alphabet when he was 13 months old, and he's now reading on his own. He also carries a favorite book with wherever he goes. I pity the poor books that get selected for 24-7 handling. They get worked. We tape and re-tape them, but they still look awful. :laugh My 18-month-old loves to go grab a book, hand it to you, then spin around and plunk down in your lap. :laugh My five-year-old never had a security item except for her books.
So...do I think reading to kids is important? Nahhh... ;)
Originally Posted by FINALLYHERE
Our daughters sound very similar (except mine is 22 months). I think most children would love to read the same way if only given the chance by their parents. My thoughts are that most parents are too lazy to take 3 minutes out of their tv watching to read to their kids. I'm glad to hear that there are other parents out there who are taking the time to teach their kids something. Bravo to you and your wife.
I don't have kids yet, but I plan to read to them when I do. My parents read to me when I was little, and always encouraged me to read a lot. My favourite book when I was little was the Picture Bible. It was basically and abridged version of the bible written and illustrated like a comic book. I loved it! My parents used to read a story from it to my sister and me every night before we went to bed. Oh the memories! :)
Mine did too and I think that's why it was so important for me to do. My husband agreed 100% that we should read to our little girl but I don't know that he would have thought of it without the suggestion. His parents didn't read to him at all when he was little. I'm amazed that he turned out fairly intelligent in spite of it. That also explains why my sister-in-law has no books for her kids. If your parents didn't read to you, it doesn't occur to you to read to your own child.
Originally Posted by brenna
:laugh :laugh Hope hubby doesn't read this.
Originally Posted by stargazer401
Oh, don't worry. He can't. Sounds like he's illiterate, right, Stargazer? ;)
My parents always read to me (and my bro), and we still have the books somewhere in the basement. :lol I think it's really important for children to be read to--it starts developing vocabulary and spelling skills at an early age, to say nothing of the "bringing-togetherness" of the family. I never watched much TV when I was little (or even that much today...just Survivor); I was usually reading instead.
Today, I read to my nieces (ages 2 & 5) whenever they're visiting or vice-versa. You start with the picture books when they're wee ones and work your way up. You'd be amazed at the results. :nod
It's also great for calming banshee children down! :lol
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