Now that the American Pediatric Society is on board and campaigning for parents to start reading to their children from a very early age, there have been a slew of articles and interviews floating around the Internet on this topic. Here’s a little round-up for your interests.
Dr. Pamela High, a renowned pediatrician and spokesperson for the Academy, says:
What we’re addressing is that many parents in the United States don’t seem to have the knowledge that there’s a wonderful opportunity available to them, starting very early, an opportunity for them to begin building their child’s language development and to forge their own relationship with their child through reading to them on a regular basis.
- PBS News Hour Report: Reading to Children Benefits Brain Development. Catch the PBS News Hour segment that discusses the findings of the study and includes an interview with Dr. Pamela High, a professor of pediatrics at Brown University
- How to Read to Babies Without Feeling Ridiculous. This is a nice little blurb from The Guardian encouraging parents to set aside worries and just get silly with their kids when reading.
- The Reading Womb: Start Reading Early. One of my favorite blogs discusses the study and provides some great tips to help parents and caregivers get started.
- PBS: Baby Reading Milestones. Please note that every child is different and all children develop at their own pace. Don’t freak out if your child isn’t doing XYZ by a certain age. That disclaimer aside, this site has some informative little blurbs about reading milestones of the little ones.
I think one key theme that is missing in all these articles is knowing which book is appropriate for your child. Parents are told to get board books for their infants, but did you know that newborns prefer high contrast (black and white) books? Or that choosing books that are mostly illustrations with maybe one to 5 words per page is the right pace for your not-yet-one-year-old? I’ve learned these through trial and error, particularly with my 3+ years of baby storytime. The sooner you start and the more often you read, you’ll see your child attention span growing. Its one of those things where you don’t notice until you realize that there are a pile of books by your side and an eager toddler snatching them up one by one. This blog post actually has a great selection of titles for new parents. These titles can be used a guide for picking age appropriate books for your child (if they are between the ages of 0 and 2)
My tips for incorporating reading to children? These are tips I’ve used as a mother, but I’ve also developed some of these observations from my time as a children’s librarian.
- I left books out on the mat during tummy time, so that they were natural a part of my baby’s life.
- Once he started pulling books off the bookshelf, I cleared off an entire shelf and replaced my books with his. As soon as I saw him taking his books off the shelf, I would sit down and read with him.
- We read to him every night
- We sang nursery songs from birth. Once he made the connection that these songs where in one of our books, he began bringing that book to us daily. Often the book would already be open to a particular song.
- We follow his attention span, and stop reading when he loses interest.
- As it turns out, we rarely have to initiate. He’ll bring us books, or lead us to the bookshelf picking book after book. We’ve read up to 10 books in a row, start to finish (he’s 16.5 months).