When I was a child, I had very few friends. What I did have though, were books. I would spend all of my free time laying on my bed, snuggling my cat Bootsin, and reading the newest book to hit my library. I remember one time in fourth grade I stayed up all night to finish The Guardian from Nicholas Sparks in one sitting. I bawled my eyes out, threw it across the room more than once, and still remember the emotions I felt reading that incredible book.
Caleb seems to be following in my book loving footsteps, and that makes me so excited. Every night he grabs his Daddy Hugs book by Karen Katz, and he reads it with Corey. He’s learned how to count to ten with that book, and understands what each of those numbers mean. Throughout the day, he will grab many books for us to read together. He’s a big fan of “First Word” books, because he likes to identify items. Recently he has started reading very basic words (cat, hat, all, ball, etc.) so we’ve started working on the kind of books that have about three words each page, and many words are repeated. He’s loving it. He’s also picked up quite a few sight words, such as “pizza.” Last night, Corey brought home a pasta meal that said Pizza on the box. The box had no hints that it was pizza flavored, but Caleb saw the world and started cheering for “zaza!”
For Christmas Santa brought him something fantastic, and I so wish I had a picture of his face opening it. He was grinning from ear to ear when he opened up the Big Book of Booboos (Doc McStuffins) from V-tech. He loves Doc, but this is a really fantastic tool as well. There are multiple settings. One teaches the words, another teaches the first letter, and then there is a game setting to test these things. Each page has a sentence about the section, which when touched will read aloud what it says. It’s in book form, and a real favorite around our house now. I love toys like this that help inspire reading skills!
I’m not a fan of forced reading, and I don’t expect him to read proficiently any time in the next few years. Reading is about finding a world besides our own, learning many different things and hobbies, and also spending time with those we love. Reading is about experiencing something that we don’t always have access to. We can learn new skills, find inspiration, and reading can even influence our future.
There is a man named William Kamkwamba from Dowa, Malawi who was too poor to attend school. This didn’t stop him from borrowing books from the library, and teaching himself to build a windmill from spare parts. That windmill brought electricity to his whole village, and earned him many scholarships and grants to attend college. I highly recommend his Ted Talk. Reading helped this man create an incredible life for himself!
To end this post, I’d like to share some of my favorite tips for reading and early literacy. If you have any book recommendations, please share them with me!
- Make sure books are always available by setting up a book shelf in every room, including the bathroom.
- There are many phone apps with interactive books, similar to leap frog’s old reading systems. My favorite, which I currently only have the trial for, but will be investing in around income tax time, is called “Endless Reader.”
- Both sight words and phonetics are important. Sight words for important things you see everyday, but phonetics allow you to read anything and everything.
- My favorite beginning reading tip… When learning the alphabet, you can start with the names of the letters, but even better is to teach the letters as sounds.
- Breakfast time is a great time to read. Set up a small magazine rack by your table, and you’ll always have something even more interesting than the cereal box.
- Let your children see you reading. If they see that you love it, they will too!
- Most importantly… it is okay if your child won’t sit down while you’re reading out loud to them. Let them play or run around. Just keep reading! Reading is fun, and shouldn’t be turned into a chore.