Reading has always been a super high priority with me when it comes to being a mom. Our rule from the time Caroline was old enough to attend to a book (six or seven months?) was to always read to her when she asked. Even if it was inconvenient at the moment. Yes, reading to her was that important. We rarely turned her away or put her off if she brought a book to us.
This Babycenter article about How to raise a reader is really super (minus the part about the Teletubbies). LOL! No, seriously, it has excellent information. Any new moms who are feeling anxious about their child’s development should read this and take it to heart. Infants, toddlers and preschoolers don’t need tons of fancy toys. Reading to them and giving them a print and verbal rich environment is the most important thing.
Caroline was watching a video of herself today from when she was two and a half. I knew she was a verbal two year old, but now I really marvel at her vocabulary. I mean I knew it at the time, but now I see it in a whole new way. The two keys? We read to her all the time and we talked about anything and everything all the time. We used a wide adult vocabulary, expanded on what she said when she talked to us, and just generally spoke to her on a high level.
Reading ability is one of the biggest predictors of school success. The biggest gift you can give to your child is a love of books and print in general. A large vocabulary will serve your child well, too. Spend lots of time at the library and read, read, read and talk, talk, talk!
Photo is Caroline enjoying books at fifteen months. She had a huge basket of books next to her bear chair.
We never really sat down and taught Caroline her ABC’s. It just happened because we provided lots of interesting materials for her to use. We used them with her, to be sure, but she was mostly self-taught.
I saw these Baby Einstein Alphabooks when I was pregnant and I thought they were the cutest things.
I love little books in boxes so this was right up my alley. I didn’t buy them until after Caroline was born, but they were a great purchase. She has used them time and time again. We’ve probably had them well over a year and a half and she still regularly sits down and goes through them.
There is a little board book for each letter of the alphabet. Each book has three words and a related photograph, work of art, or graphic. They were also a great vocabulary tool as we talked about what was in each of the pictures.
Cute, compact, and clever. Just what I like! Highly recommended!
Got your attention, didn’t I?
Truth be told, Caroline doesn’t watch any network TV. She does watch DVDs. She enjoys Baby Einstein DVDs and Pride and Prejudice). But her current obsession – and I do mean obsession – is watching DVDs of herself.
David copies all our home videos onto DVD so we can easily watch them without having to run it through the camcorder. Caroline is ENTHRALLED with watching us on TV. She calls them “Baby Caroline”. We call them CTV.
Yesterday, we brought up a tote of toys for rotation. Caroline had pulled everything out of the tote and the living room floor looked, um, pretty trashed. She looked up at me and said, “There’s stuff strewn all over in here.”
Strewn? Yes, strewn.
And where did she pick that up? From David on one of the videos. He’s talking about a toy mess when she was under a year and described it just that way. She’s seen that scene more than a few times and obviously picked it up.
I do think Caroline is quite far ahead of the curve in terms of language development for only being twenty-eight months old. I attributed it to the fact that she spends all day with two gabby adults and we read a lot to her. David mentioned last night after the strewn comment that she probably is also learning a lot by watching those family DVDs. And, I have to admit that I was glad to see something positive coming out of it beyond just being entertained and engaged for a bit each day.