Monday, June 28, 2010

Start Good Reading Habits Early

Children are made readers on  the laps of their parents. (Emilie Buchwald, 1994)

I ran across this quote and my first thought was to wonder who Emilie Buchwald is. Why did her name not ring a bell. So I googled her and learned that she was the founder of Milkweed Publishing Co., one of the top juvenile books companies. I agree with Ms. Buchwald wholeheartedly.

Parents who do not begin reading to their children in infancy are doing them a disservice. It's never too soon to begin. In the book world of today, there are many books with no words, only pictures. What nicer way to begin than with baby cuddled on your lap, the book held in front of both of you. Sure, she's going to bat at it with her little hands, but soon, she'll begin to pay attention to the pictures and to the tone of your voice as you talk about them. Before long, there are toddler books with words below the pictures and full stories as they get a little older.

I still have memories of my mother and father reading to me. Also my aunts. As I got older, I'd snuggle up next to them, partly to see the pictures in the book, but also to have that closeness to a loved one that children enjoy. Positives on both counts.

My daughter and her husband began reading a bedtime story to their children at a very early age. They started with a child on their lap, and as the children have gotten older, that's changed to sitting on the side of the bed together to read. The children each have a large basket filled with books in their bedroom, and they pull out favorites for Mom or Dad to read. And when Grandma (that's me!) is there, guess who gets the pleasure of reading the bedtime story?

These are children who will one day graduate to reading a chapter or two in bed before falling asleep. A habit has been established, and a good one it is. Our two older grandchildren were also read to at a very early age, and both of them are voracious readers today.

Read to your children, your grandchildren, nieces and nephews--whatever children are in your life. You couldn't give them a finer gift.

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