Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fostering a Love of Reading

As a former kindergarten teacher, I know all about the importance of literacy!  And as a book lover myself, reading is something I want my twins to love too.  It's a lovely image, that of a parent cuddling a child and reading a book together.  But realistically, as a mother of wiggly twins, that scenario hardly ever happens for me.  Before the boys could roll over, I would lay them both on the bed or floor on their backs, and lay next to them, holding the book over their heads for them to see.  I would do this after every daytime feeding.  Once they could sit up (or once they kept rolling over and crawling away during stories), I switched to reading to them while in their high chairs, making it part of meal time.  Here's the basket of books I keep by the table, along with another basket of remote controls and other baby contraband!

Now they're 15 months old, and I still read to them mainly while they're in their high chairs.  Making reading part of the routine makes sure that it happens.  My goal is to read them one picture book every time they eat a meal or snack, and at bedtime my husband helps to hold them for the bedtime story.  This means they're read at least 6 books a day!  Sometimes more, if during playtime one of them brings me a book on their own.    Incorporating books so often throughout the day helps even babies and young toddlers learn the basics of how to soak in the illustrations, turn pages, and how to look at a book right-side up... though not always...

As you can see, we've got a little shelf with board books on it in the twins' bedroom, which they can look at any time we're up there.  Below is the basket I keep on the living room floor, which is also accessible at any time.  Any book that has paper pages that I don't want torn, I keep out of reach.  I try to rotate all the books around from time to time.  

Obviously, early exposure to "how books work" is great for a child's educational success, but it's also become a form of entertainment in our house!  The picture below was not posed!  By seeing parents handle books so often, and by putting books all around the house, it show their importance and value to the child, and they develop their own independent interest in them.  And mommy gets a two minute break....oh, I mean, and mommy has fostered a love of reading in her children ;)

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