I try to do this every day. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose the right books to read.
Writing and reading are related activities. I think about everyone agrees that reading to your children is a great activity to involve the family, but what do you read to your kids?
I vaguely remember the scene from Three Men and a Baby where Tom Selleck is reading to the baby from a sports magazine and telling one of the other guys, “It doesn’t matter what you read, what matters is the tone you use.”
Finding books on the subject isn’t too difficult. I’ve been reading Baby Read-Aloud Basics and I have another book on the subject that I haven’t perused yet. (love the library- they feed my brain!) They had it partly right. The tone does matter.
But it also matters what you read. Reading is giving your child a solid foundation of language. It’s also why you’re supposed to talk to the baby all the time. (even though it’s really hard when you never get coherent answers.) This is how the baby learns to speak, and the more you can do it, the better off the baby will be.
I know, that’s speaking. Reading is just as important though. Those books that you cart around have words you don’t always hear in regular conversations. It’s a wonderful way to boost the vocabulary. Yes, I mean baby books. No, I don’t mean Dr. Seuss.
Don’t think I’m knocking Dr. Seuss, though. He wrote wonderful books, but they’re for the beginning reader. (Proudly marked on their covers that way.) The beginning reader isn’t looking for tough things to say or read, just to gain familiarity. If we only read beginning reader books to our children, we aren’t giving them as many different, complex, learning tools for their vocabulary as we could be.
So one question is, when looking for a book for your baby: Will you be reading it, or will the child? Don’t shy away from books with larger words in them. What’s wrong with fuchsia for a color or exhilarating for a description when the adult is reading it to the baby? Absolutely nothing! If you never introduce your little one to those words, they’ll never know them.
It almost makes me want to read my dictionary to her, but not quite. Now if it had some pretty pictures…