Reading with Baby: Literacy-Soaked Environment

I have already confessed my love of books. When I discovered I was pregnant, I didn’t go out and buy little baby shoes or cute little dresses (although believe me, I have bought lots of those things since). I bought books.

121103_0004My first baby shopping spree

I bought books multiple times before Madison was born. I just wanted my baby to love books! I wanted her reading Anne of Green Gables in utero. My dreams for my master library really took shape after this.

The good news is Madi does love books. She wants to look at books all day long. She sometimes wants to look at one specific book all day long. She even sometimes wants to look at one specific board book all day long every day for a month.

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Yes, I am talking about you Potty ABC’s.

I’m no expert, but being a teacher, a mom, and an avid reader, I have a little background on the subject. I’d like to start sharing some tips & ideas for reading with your child and some great books I find along the way.

Today’s tip is simple enough: Create a Literacy-Soaked Environment

Drench your kids in literacy!

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Let your child (no matter the age) be exposed to books and words and letters. Let your children see you and your spouse reading. Have books in your home. Talk about books in family conversations and at family events. Ask each other around the dinner table what books you are reading and talk about them. Give each other “book reviews” during a family night. When your children are learning to read, point out words and letters everywhere you go (they will probably be doing this anyway!)

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I think sometimes we hold back with our babies thinking that they are too young. No baby is too young to start their exposure to books. Madison (16 months) is just getting to the point now where her attention span is *sometimes* long enough to sit through a very short book with big pictures and about one line of text a page. Even if your child doesn’t want to be read to, most children enjoy looking through books. Let them look at the pictures, point out things on the page (to increase vocabulary), and even just let them turn pages.

Bottom line is, do what you can to let your child see and touch books as often as possible. Most babies like to taste them as well, and I guess that’s okay too.

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Technology Sidenote: Many people are passionate about their tablets when it comes to reading. This is great. It helps out our environment and it’s convenient. I am a pretty firm believer in having physical books, especially when it comes to children’s books. If you don’t want to purchase any physical books for your home, I have a happy solution for you–the library! I will be talking more about the library in a future post.

Guilt Disclaimer: I’m a mom, so I know what you are thinking. When a friend told me that she had been told by a medical professional to read to her newborn for 20 minutes a day, I laughed… and then desperately started doing it for a few days. You don’t need to go overboard or try to drastically change things overnight or create a rigorous reading schedule. My toddler loves reading and I didn’t read Gone with the Wind to her as an infant. Please don’t read this and think you are a terrible mother. If your child occasionally watches TV, I think he/she will still be a great kid and learn how to read. If your child had some red dye 40 in a fruit snack once, I think it is possible your kid will still be successful in life. What I’m saying is–if you don’t do everything perfectly–relax, it’s okay. This post is not intended to create feelings of guilt or paranoia. These are just some friendly bits of advice to help you get started on creating a family that loves to read!

Disclaimer to the Disclaimer: If you read Gone with the Wind to your infant, I also think you are a good mom. Unless you have fed your child a gummy snack with red dye 40. The end.

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2 thoughts on “Reading with Baby: Literacy-Soaked Environment

  1. Haha. Your disclaimers :). You bring joy into my life. This was a great post. Have you heard of Indestructibles? They are sold on Amazon and Jami just bought some for Holland. “They are 100 percent baby-proof, chew-proof, rip-proof, and drool-proof. Printed on a unique nontoxic, paperlike material that holds up to anything babies can throw at it—gumming, spilling, dragging across the floor— Indestructibles are the little books that could. They’re indestructible. And if they get dirty, just throw them in the washing machine or dishwasher.” Pretty sweet — eh?

    Like

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