Since I have been reading more of children’s books these days, I thought it was time to start writing about them here. I am amazed at the kind of literature there is for the young and very young kids. If you assumed that children’s books would be childish, you could not be more wrong. I have learnt so much by just reading to my son. And I love them as much as he does.
As a book lover myself, I knew I wanted to raise a reader. Yes, he could become a reader on his own but on my part, I wanted to do my best.
I started READING ALOUD my own books to my son (yes, you heard it right) when he was a tiny baby because at that time kids just need to hear your voice and language. I got him the cloth book of ‘Fuzzy Bee and Friends’, and board books of ‘Squishy Turtle and friends’ and ‘the Very Hungry Caterpillar’ when he was 6 months old.
In the beginning, books are just another playthings. He would not even sit on one place to be READ ALOUD but that was his age and not disinterest in books. I still continued reading to him. At that time, it felt may be he really wasn't interested in books but once when he was 9-10 months old, I asked him to get me ‘the Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and he did. It was such a thrilling moment for me.
From that moment to this day (3 years later), I can tell you from personal experience that there are only positives to reading aloud. There are hundreds of articles and enough research on why we should READ ALOUD to our children. You just need to Google. But here, I would share my personal experience:
Focus. When you encourage the habit of sitting on one place and engage your child with a story, where he looks at the pictures, tries to make sense of what is happening; you enable him to focus. Young kids are restless with high energy flying all over the place. But reading to your child develops focus and the ability to concentrate.
Learn new words and concepts. When you read books after books each day, you obviously come across several new words. A child is introduced to new words and concepts in a much better way than it can ever happen through videos and television. Even I have learnt so many new words while reading children’s books. Many times, when the kids are little, it is interesting to explain even simple words which they do not have life’s experience to understand.
Imagination. Books open a world of imagination for them, where even animals and machines talk and emote. Anything is possible in their books. Soon they start imagining their own stories with their own favourite things. The gift of imagination is priceless.
Love for Learning. Initially, what attract young kids to books are the pictures. Slowly they start noticing the words. I have observed that the kids who are read to, are more interested in learning the alphabets. My 3.5 year old can read words with simple sounds like CAT, MAN, MUG, etc., and honestly, I have never sat him down to teach alphabets. Of course, I tell him when he asks and correct his mistakes; but absolutely no rote learning. My goal is to inculcate the habit of reading and love for language, and I trust, rest everything will fall into place.
Bonding. This is the best part of reading to your children. It is a great one-on-one time. It offers the opportunity to sit with them and ask questions related or unrelated to the story. It offers the perfect chance to connect with them. And it is very important to connect with them, no matter what age they are in.
You may also want to see:
5 Children's Fiction Titles We Love
Image source: Google