Is reading to your child always the right thing to do?
May 13, 2010 (WPVI) -- Since he was a few months old, part of my son's routine has been a book before bed. He seemed to like the snuggling part, but was rather disinterested in the actual book. In the past couple of months, he's been very interested in the books... to chew on.
So, that got me wondering if it was really worth it. Was I doing the right thing, or should I have put off the books for a little bit until my son seemed more interested?
Turns out, I'm doing the right thing. "They're called chewies," says Laura Nachmanoff, author of the wildly successful "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" series, about books for infants. Yes, my little guy is eating his books, but he's making an early association to words on a page being part of special time with parents and a fun experience. He's also getting it ingrained that it should be part of his daily routine.
The trick is short and sweet. It might sound good to say you were exposing your kid to the classics or Shakespeare right out of the womb, but you're not getting on a road to making your child smarter or a better reader. "If you're reading 'War and Peace' I'd say you should rethink that," says CHOP's Dr. David Pollack. "You want a few words on each page with bright colorful pictures and enthusiastic reading by a parent." Dr. Pollack suggests both parents make a point of reading so that kids get the idea that reading is important and leads to pleasurable time with both parents. And let your infant and toddlers see you reading. It sends the message it really is something you value and enjoy and something they should aspire to do.
But for all your best efforts, so kids, even at an early age, make it clear they'd rather be stacking blocks or coloring or banging on pots and pans. What to do? Nachmanoff has an inspired idea: "Try comics," she says. "Reading is reading."
And you may get some payoff sooner than you think. In general, when I read my son is busy trying to grab the book or put it in his mouth. But he's starting to do something different when I read Sandra Boynton's "Doggies." As I make the barking sounds, he looks up from the book to my face, laughing and smiling.
Let the love affair begin!
tamala edwards parenting reports, parenting, tamala edwards
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