Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Mommy Tip: Bookworms

I know this sounds silly, but this insider secret comes from your local librarian: teach your child to love books. Whether they are hard, chunky board books or beautifully illustrated Caldecott Medal award-winning pieces of literature, most of the moms I know have a home filled with children's books. Our own house has baskets and cloth bins overflowing with everything from the classics to the kid's meal under-3 versions. Even my car, purchased new only 6 months ago, is littered with Liv's favorites. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see the wonders of this skill. I could go on and on about the academic potential of children who love to read or the benefits to society these young ones go one to become, but you know all that!

The real reason: your sanity. Point blank, I said it. When you have a tot that can spend hours (or precious minutes) sitting on the floor (or carseat or doctor's office or church pew...) quietly engaged with a book, you will count your blessings (and the many chores/tasks that you can now accomplish).

Start young. I read daily to pre-natal Olivia. Poor, naive Frank listened graciously each evening as I recited "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" [by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carl] to my belly. It is now, swear on my life, Olivia's favorite book. You can see her "reading" it above with her bestie, T, at the library. Post-birth, it was at least a book a day. When she could hold the books, I gave her board books, not worrying about the drool or excessive bending. She used the soft books as teethers, but by then, the impact was done. She was hooked and still is. We read at home, before nap and bed, as well as the library and church and in the car. She will stare at tween, barely illustrated novelettes in the doctor's office, and once, she demanded to read my Runners' World magazine. In the morning when I want to shower, I set her in the crib with about 15 books and know that I have about 20 minutes. I hear her through the monitor, chatting away - reciting the ones she knows and making up the ones she doesn't.

It is fantastic. Oh and your child will grow up to be a genius.

Alicia's Teach your Child to be a Bookworm Tips
1. Start young, pre-natal if you dare.
2. Be silly when you read and do fun things before and/or after reading.
3. Too many words? Make up a story. Use your child's name and their friends' names.
4. ALWAYS keep a bag of books in the car. This is just as wise as keeping a small box of crayons in every bag. And your fellow worshipers will appreciate this, even if they never say it.
5. Chick-fil-a (I should really be compensated for all the free advertising I give them...) gives fabulous, tiny board books as their "under 3" toy. They are perfect for the car.

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