Learning to Read/Identify Items and Words: The importance of availability.

climbing for booksLast Sunday I had a party and while I was cleaning up and getting ready for it I made a terrible mistake. I put Caleb’s books on the very top shelf of a shelving unit that’s tucked away into a corner. Usually he has full access to his books and he’ll go over, grab one, and plop himself down to look through it. Once in a while he’ll even bring the book to me and read it to me in his sweet little babble.

Every day we read together. That means very different things on different days. Sometimes he just wants to hold the book and turn the pages after I only get a word out. That’s okay. I’m not going to force him and make it any less fun for him. Other days he’s perfectly happy to snuggle up in my lap and allow me to go through each page, read the words once or twice, and point out all of the little details such as what color someone’s eyes and hair are or who’s taller or shorter in the scene. No matter what, when he brings a book to me (or when I call him over to read if it’s getting late and he hasn’t shown interest yet) my goal is to make it fun so that he never feels like reading is a chore.

Books are a great way to explore the world. I have an awesome 101 first words book that we read probably two or three times a week at least. I’ll read each word and point at the object it defines. Then we’ll talk about different colors on the page, how many of each item there are, and how he uses it or will see it. His absolute favorite page is the one with the clothing because he likes to point at the shoes and shout shoes at me a dozen times till I can spit out, “Good job, you’re right, those are shoes.”

Well, this picture is a few days old. I have seen the error of my way. How dare I put his books so high up and expect him not to do something scary like climb up onto the back of the couch to get them back! He showed me that our approach to reading and learning is working. He showed me that he does enjoy our time together, learning about a world beyond our own and even closer (as in every day life) and that what we’ve learned has stuck with him. After seeing him so desperate to get to his books I decided from now on he will have a little library set up in every room. Yes, that includes the bathroom! This is the time to start the building blocks of tomorrow.

Let’s Read!

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