Saturday, January 24, 2009

Reading and the Youngest of Kids

Literacy Development for Infants-- The following recommendations come from the Utah Department of Health (as well as child development experts everywhere):
  • Have frequent one-on-one conversations with your baby.
  • Talk to your baby during necessary routines like diaper changes, baths, etc.
  • Listen to your baby's sounds and repeat the sounds back to them.
  • Read board, cloth or vinyl books you baby cold help hold.
  • Point to pictures and name familiar objects while you look at books.
  • Sing often to your baby.
  • Say nursery rhymes to spark your baby's awareness of language and sounds.

Why Read to An Infant?

  • It builds a positive association with books. People (even babies) are hedonistic we like activities that bring us pleasure. Cuddling with a loved adult, listening to their voice is something babies love... and if they associate that time with books they will learn to love reading.
  • Baby's learn MANY new vocabulary words from books. The typical children's story book has more unique vocabulary words than a conversation among PhDs. (source: Dr. Robert Titzer) Books that have familiar objects that you can point to and name are really great for young babies.

Helpful Hints for Reading to Infant?

  • Choose a time when they are happy and relaxed. Not right before a feeding when they may be getting cranky.
  • Follow their cues. If they are done before the book is over that is fine.
  • It's okay to read the same story over and over. Repetition is SO good for babies!
  • Look for books with black and white and bright colors for babies. They also enjoy textures.
  • Look for books few words/page.
  • Look for books with lots of repeated words or phrases.

So cuddle up with that little one and read!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why I Started This Blog

When I encounter parents teachers, and grandparents through my Usborne Books business I meet many nurturers who have spent a little time each day instilling a love of reading and learning in the kids in their lives.

What a great gift they are giving those children!! They understand what Abraham Lincoln meant when he said, "A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others." Or, as Dr. Seuss so eloquently put it, "The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

However, I meet other people and I am often surprised by their misinformation and attitude towards books. For example, I can't tell you how many times I've been told (usually by a dad or a grandma, sometimes by a mom) "Oh, he is only six months old. He's too young for books." Guess what... he was ready to be introduced to books six months ago.

Thankfully, for me, I did have a mother who read to me and did instill in me a love for the written word. My love of books created an insatiable curiosity about the world around me, a source of comfort and diversion, and an opportunity to experience places and events I could never actually be.
So, I started this blog to share my thoughts and pass on information about reading, literacy, help for struggling readers, appropriate practices for gifted readers, reaching reluctant readers, and instilling in kids a love of reading and learning that will bless their lives... whether they are a newborn or a teenager. I'll take professional articles, studies, and reports and make it accessible to all parents.

If you have a topic you'd like me to research or any information you'd like to share, please let me know. Thank you for reading.