Shortly after John’s first-month celebration, we received a belated present from my husband’s boss – two children’s books and a card that said, “Read to John. Give him a head start.”
My husband and I were delighted with the present because we ourselves were avid readers who had more shelf space for books than clothes, pots and pans, and sports equipment combined. I recalled the warm memories of reading when I was little – skipping along beside my mother as she led us to the Bordland Community Library where my sister and I would spend hours sitting cross-legged on the floor, devouring books of all kinds. As I wanted John to start building similar memories, I began reading to him immediately.
Every night, since he was barely two months old, John and I sit together while I read aloud to him. At first, John would just stare quite blankly at the pages, while I chatted away. But as he got more active and aware, he began to participate in our reading “dates”, charming me by chewing on the books and helping me turn the pages. Recently, eight-month-old John has started babbling non-stop and our reading “dates” have taken on another dimension – they have become opportunities for him to pick up new sounds; for example, by hearing words like “banana”, “bicycle”, and “ball”, he is learning the “b” sound.
In addition, John sees an image of the banana hears the sounds “ba”, “na”, “no” and learns to associate those sounds with the image of a banana. Our regular reading “dates” have been educational, not just for John, but for me as well. I have become convinced that reading aloud to a child, even to a very young child like John, is an important and excellent activity that every parent should try.