Expounding to readers of this blog about the value of introducing books and reading to children at an early age would be akin to telling a dietician that people need to eat right. So I will try not to do that. I will instead, give you some touching images and personal thoughts to inspire you to keep up the fight.
There are many replacements for books now that keep our children entertained, but I have found nothing that replaces that triad of positive energy that flows between an adult holding a child holding a book.
Most experts assert that a routine at bedtime will help children go to sleep easily and sleep well throughout the night. What better way to help a child feel calm and secure than to cuddle up with a book and the loving grown-up in their life?
For a memorable period of time, one of my sons became very attached to a book that I really did not like reading, but if I couldn’t distract him from it, I swallowed my own aversion to this poorly written bunk about a truck and read it with feigned enthusiasm…because he would then go to sleep happy.
Keep spreading the word about the intellectual skills like listening, memory and vocabulary that are honed as you read with your baby. Tell parents that the subtle literacy skills like tracking and word recognition happen magically as you follow the lines with your finger so that when the child starts school, reading or not, they have preliminary skills that will help them succeed.
Encourage parents to read beautifully descriptive text without images to help children develop their imaginations, to help them visualize in this age of screens, of constantly fed pictures.
Dan wrote that this was a German book that his daughter, who was working in Europe at the time, sent to his granddaughter as a gift . ” With a wife as a librarian and five grandchildren who all love to read, books are a big part of our whole family. Reading from an early age has helped our grandchildren develop a great vocabulary from an early age and also lead them to a lifelong desire to continue reading.”
Becky is also a lover of books and libraries and says of this image, “This photo was taken of my youngest daughter, Tess, when she was 9 months old. We love books in our house and try to instill that love in our children at a very young age.”
This is my older son at age two. He loved books and reading together was always a sweet experience. I miss those little guys I used to snuggle up with laughing and chatting over a book. Happily, I now have three granddaughters to read with and I am thrilled and amazed as they learn to interpret the cryptic symbols for themselves.
I thank the photographers featured here for permission to use their images. They seem to be folks after my own heart who love children and books.
- Brittany Blevins at Studio Ten Twelve
- Dan Goldring as Velsheda on Flickr
- Becky Pope as Momma Pope on Flickr