Book is a boon: How did I raise a reader
“A book is a gift you can open again and again” – Garrison Keillor
Do they really enjoy the reading time? Is reading books to the kids really beneficial? Do they understand and reciprocate?
The answer to all these questions is an absolute “Yes”. Reading to infants contributes to the development of their growing brains and gives them a start towards a lifelong love for books. Reading to infants helps with their speech development as they get to hear a lot of information and that in turn imbibes different speech patterns.
Too early is never too bad. Start the reading journey while the baby is in your womb. Read any of your favorite picks and read it out aloud (be ready to get those extra kicks if your little one loves it).
Infants tune into the rhythm and the familiar voices of their parents and caregivers even before they come into this world so never hesitate to read those long pending books in your list while you are pregnant (even the daddy can read out loud to the baby).
Initially, the rhythmic phrase may not hold any meaning to the little one, but eventually they try to make a connection with what you say and the picture in the book. Say for example, a baby sees a picture of an animal in a book and you name the animal that’s how they try to make a connection between the two.
The more you read the same book, the stronger the connection gets. Repetitive recitation makes the book fun and engaging. Introducing books during infancy helps with baby’s understanding vocabulary.
How to choose the right book
The books you pick for the babies should be very baby friendly, easy for them to hold and explore. Look for board books, cloth books, picture books which are not easily perishable, even if the kids try to chew on them.
Once the baby gets a hold of the reading sessions and they start enjoying you can always hand them over the book and allow them to turn around the pages and look at the pictures. They slowly figure out that the pages are not for tearing but reading.
Below is our few favorites
- Dr Seuss books
- Complete book of Farmyard tales by S. Cartwright & H. Amery by UsBorne
- How to brush your teeth with snappy croc by Jane Clarke & Georgie Berkitt
- My friends by Taro Gami
- Baby’s first colours by Hinkler books
- Baby touch and feel collection by D K publishers
Best way to start
The best way to start reading to the baby is to read aloud with enacting the story. Make all those funny faces you can and try to keep them engaged. Initially you may not get through the whole book, but with patience you will get there.
- Make it a habit to start reading a book at the same time every day. Choose the bedtime as you can have some bonding time with the baby while you read.
- If your child wants you to stop at a point and he/she wants to explore the book, then go ahead and allow them to.
- Increase the length and complexity of the book as the child shows interest.
- Never force the baby and always go with baby’s cues.
Few tips for the parents/caregivers
- Initially pick brightly colored books as it can be attractive for the babies to explore.
- Always read out the title of the book and authors before you start off reading (why because? They will associate the book and recognize the next time you ask them to pick)
- Always read with voice modulations and expressions so they imitate and repeat after you, like when you say dog show them how a dog bark.
- If you are skeptical to invest on books before you know if they will actually love it, then I would suggest you to go to a local library and rent out baby books every week.
- Never throw the book while the baby is watching you, remember they learn what they see.
- Always pick a book, finish and place it back to take another one (so the baby will learn the discipline of reading).
My Reading Journey with the little one (writing this down if someone wants any more pointers)
- I started reading in my third trimester of pregnancy (not exactly baby books, but novels like ‘Jaya’, ‘Difficulty of being good’.
- I started reading books to my daughter when she was 4 months during her bedtime.
- Started off with Dr Seuss books (I got a set of 5 for a very good deal).
- I read with voice modulation and enacting, she would giggle and laugh when she saw me read.
- When she was around 10 months she started getting the books to me so that I read it to her.
- By then she had few favorite books which she enjoyed the best.
- Initially, when I handed over the paperback book she tore a few pages, but, later in time she realized it’s for reading and now all she does is turn those pages with extra love.
- Now she is able to pick the book when I say the name of it.
- I carry books for our road trip, vacation anywhere and everywhere.
- There are times she has asked me to read the same book over and over again, all I did was smile and read till she was done.
Lastly, be patient and be ready to buckle up for this amazing journey as you will never repent for it.
You can also find this article in mycity4kids and let me know your feedback there.
Until next time….
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