I have a son (Raisin is the name I’ve affectionately given him on my public blogs) who turned 5 last year and a daughter (Strawberry Shortcake) who just turned one. Needless to say, I’ve been concentrating on Raisin in terms of home education this year. But I am thinking I really should not neglect my daughter quite so much.
Strawberry loves books. I know my son did too, but it is so much fun to see my daughter embracing them because, having recently raised my son from infant to toddler to preschooler to kindergartner, I now know, better than ever, that her excitement about a board book is a significant step in learning to read.
This last week I read Mem Fox’s Reading Magic and I’ve been reminded just how important it is to read to my baby too. As I read Mem Fox’s stories about reading to her daughter, I was reminded of how much fun Raisin and I had reading through our 1000 books. I admit, there have been many days lately when Strawberry went to sleep for the night without a bedtime story. We were busy, or my son needed attention, or I was heading out somewhere once my husband got home. But that’s not fair to her. I never would have done that to my one year old son! Bedtime story time is the best time of the day!
When Strawberry was three days old, we brought her home from the hospital. She had been in the special care nursery for those three days so I hadn’t had the calm cuddling time in the hospital with her that I had hoped for. I had even brought my Jane Austen counting book to read to her on her first night alive. But I had not dug it out of my bag in my stress-filled days and nights as I wandered from my room to the nursery and back again over and over again.
Then, on our first night at home, I saw my copy of The Secret Garden on a bookshelf. I have a personal memory of my mother reading that to me when I was a young girl, home sick from school. That third night of Strawberry’s life, I read her the first chapter of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic as I held her in my arms. I don’t know if she was asleep or awake, but it did not matter. We were reading together.
I reflected on similar things last summer, when Strawberry was five months old. I declared that bedtime reading with a baby was the best part of the day. How have I gotten out of the habit since then? I don’t know, but I’m back on board the train. I’m going to keep another 1000 book list (I started at the beginning of the year) and I can’t wait to have nights of delightful bonding with my child as we read together over the next few years!
What is your favorite read-aloud book for your baby or toddler? How did you make sure you kept the “reading together” routine as a parent?
Do you want more ideas for teaching a toddler?