Here is my list of things I never expected to encounter. This is what I’ve learned about teaching reading by having a baby.
1. Babies eat Books.
Not babies do this cute thing where they put the book in their mouths. But babies literally bite huge chunks out of board boards. Chunks so large that they WILL choke on the cardboard pieces. And this makes it absolutely impossible to read any board book to them. I remember in the beginning when Harper was only a few weeks old, I was completely disappointed that all my favorite picture books weren’t in board book form. Well now I’m disappointed that I can’t find more quality books that are cloth. Because those are the only books I can read to him. Every now and then I try to read a board book, but it ends in a screaming catastrophe since I won’t let him sink his little piranha teeth into it. Therefore, I discovered developing a habit of reading is much more difficult than I anticipated.
2. Babies Have Favorite Books
So since there aren’t nearly as many cloth books out there as board books or picture books, I felt the need to buy as many as I could find. That way he would have a wide variety to choose from. However, I assumed that babies wouldn’t have a preference with books. Books were books and as long as I read it in a fun, entertaining way, he would love it. Wrong! Babies actually have favorite books! And it differs from baby to baby. I read all the reviews online about all the books before I purchased them. Guess what Harper doesn’t like? Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, and the famous Squishy Turtle and Fuzzy Bee. So it isn’t that the books are just not entertaining or classic or high quality or whatever. Babies like what they like. And no bit of marketing, reviews, or sales pitch will change their mind.
***Disclaimer I actually kind of hate Squishy Turtle and Fuzzy Bee too. Although they have great language and rhyming words, the books are called Squishy Turtle and Fuzzy Bee and yet those characters do not exist in the book. It’s all about other creatures. It makes no sense.
3. The Power of Imitation
I knew that babies have this natural thirst for knowledge and they are always observing and taking everything in, trying to learn about the world around them. But it was amazing to me how much children really do mimic what they see the people around them doing. The day my 6 month old picked up a remote and started pointing it at the T.V. while pushing the buttons changed my life. I realized how powerful my actions were. So when I would try to put Harper in my lap and read him a book and he would squirm and act like he wasn’t interested I decided to make reading my activity, not his. Everyday, I started picking up his books and reading them aloud to myself. It was only a matter of seconds before he was speed crawling across the floor to snatch the book from me and start reading it. Now, I find him reading his books to himself.
In celebration of Harper's 1st Birthday, I wanted to share his timeline of reading.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at the Children's Book Academy. Mondays with Mandy or Mira is now the Blogfish!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays will feature award-winning former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature reading specialist and MFA in creative writing graduate Mandy Yates has been published multiple times in Highlights Magazine.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the great Christine Taylor-Butler who has published over 70 award-winning fiction and non-fiction and nonfiction books including the acclaimed new middle grade series - The Lost Tribes.
And 5th Mondays will feature will feature the fabulous Carl Angel, award-winning multi-published Illustrator and graphic designer.
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