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.