“Once upon a time there was a princess named Amy. She lived at the beach near Bob…” I listened as my youngest carefully “read” a story to her baby doll. Although the words did not match the text, I knew that I had instilled a great love of reading in my child. Indeed, she was emulating one of our favorite activities—storytime.
A love for reading and books is one of the most precious gifts parents can give their children. While knowing how to read is essential for day-to-day survival, loving to read opens new worlds for children. By reading, children can visit people in different lands, fight fire-breathing dragons to save a royal princess, or learn how to build the perfect windmill. The possibilities are endless. Even so, fostering a love of reading requires a bit of work on our part as parents.
Read, Read, Read
Storytime plays an important role in introducing children to the magic of books. Although it is never too late to start, we should begin reading books to our children when they are very small, even before they can walk and talk. As babies, children enjoy books with bright pictures and simple text. Board books that babies can manipulate themselves (and chew on) are good choices, too. Also good are books that are lyrical, such as Dr. Seuss books (my favorite is Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?) and nursery rhymes. While babies cannot understand the intricacies of the language, they do enjoy the rhythm of the words. This early introduction to reading develops a child’s love of books and fosters a close, loving relationship between parent and child.