Monday, February 13, 2012

Things To Love....About Reading with Infants and Toddlers

While visiting baby bookworm's grandparents this week (and my parents), I found Richard Scarry's Things To Love hiding in her book basket at their house and thought - how appropriate given Valentine's Day is coming up soon.

I've been a fan of Richard Scarry's books since I was a little girl, and I am happy to report that baby bookworm is also becoming a fan.  After reading the book, oh say, fifteen times while on our visit, it inspired me to count.....

Things to Love about Reading with Infants and Toddlers
(in no particular order)

1. Cuddle time 

Reading with your child provides a great bonding experience, and forming emotional attachments early in life is an essential piece of the learning process; emotion and learning are closely linked, and children who feel loved develop a sense of security that is often necessary for early learning to take place. 

2. New words

Yes, reading will help your young child will help him to utter such phrases as, "My strawberries are scrumptious" or "pass me that scarlet crayon".  In fact, children learn more new words through books than from television and conversation.  Why is vocabulary so important anyway? The larger your child's vocabulary, the more spoken language he will understand, and the more written language he will comprehend which = a greater chance of success in school.

3. Fun  

You and your child can be transformed to a land where animals talk, or to a place where skies are green and grass is blue.  Words can be sung, pictures can pop out at you, and objects can be discovered under flaps. 

And that's fun. What's not to love?  

4. Using imagination

Books like Harold and the Purple Crayon are perfect for encouraging your child to use his imagination.  The added bonus of imaginative reading - gained skills in cognition and language.

5. Meeting interesting characters 

Fancy Nancy. David. Elmo. Pinkalicious. Arthur. Max. Pigeon. Brother and Sister Bear.  The Cat in the Hat. Piggie and Gerald.  

The list is endless of new friends that your little one will meet and welcome into his life, and ultimately grow to love.  

6. The Ah-HA moments 

It's the nine hundred and fifteenth time you've read Goodnight Moon......and then.....your child looks at you, smiles, looks at the book, points at the picture and says "cow".  Ah-HA!  He was listening after all!  It only took nine hundred and fifteen times, but that moment makes every repetition worth it.  

7. Getting inspired

Children's books often spark great ideas.  Whether you do a neat activity based on the book you read, try to enhance creativity through an art project, or act out the story - reading with your child can encourage you to think about something in a whole new way.

8. Fostering language development

The more you speak to and read with your child, the better your child's language and reading skills will become.  So read, read, and read some more!

9. Giving your child a head start on literacy

Children's books teach many pre-reading skills.  Read nursery rhymes, and you'll be giving your child a lesson in phonemic awareness.  Read an alphabet book and your child is learning to recognize those important symbols we call letters.  Point to the words as you read them to your toddler, and he'll begin to understand that there are rules about how reading works.  

10. Learning life lessons

Many children's books have some kind of message, or problem to solve.  What a great way to talk to your child about some important topics like sharing, being yourself, moving to a new town, visiting the doctor, or making room for that new little baby sister or brother!

This list could easily be longer, so I ask you....
What do you love about reading with your infant or toddler?

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