Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reading ... there's nothing like it

In our house we read. We read lots.

Even Trace, who initially didn't take to being read to as each of the girls had, has, much to his mother's pleasure, developed an affection for page turning.

Our copy of "Eloise Wilkin Stories" (a Little Golden Books collection) is lovingly tattered. Our favorite lift-the-flap books are missing a few flaps. Our limited edition "What's a Grandma Butterbean?" has been opened more times than you could possibly imagine.

It's our daily reading regimen that's contributed to a four year old whose vocabulary contains the word ridiculous; and a three year old who can "read" nearly any book on our shelves as though she's near perfectly reading the words on the pages.

On the top shelf of one of our bookcases, I've stashed our copy of "Love Song for a Baby" by Marion Dane Bauer and Dan Andreasen. It's a beautiful book and will always be one of my favorites. I remember reading it to Alena when she was just days old wondering "How can this really be benefiting her? She can't possibly be getting any of this, can she?"

Four years and four thousand books read later, I believe it did and still does. It's fascinating what a child absorbs by being read to and how wonderfully enjoyable it is for both parent and child. Reading to a child is something good for them that you don't have to sell them on (it certainly beats convincing a three year old to try broccoli). A beautiful combination.

Our children exemplify the benefits of reading to your little ones, both early and often. They are a testament to the vocabulary-building it affords them and the worlds it can open them to. And while helping to develop early reading skills, it's a chance to instill in them a love of reading. I'll open a book to that.

*Coincidentally, I had started this post days ago, but hadn't finished it until today's Days of Christmas gift provided the perfect segue and kick in the keyboard to post it.

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