When PK was born, I used to read a LOT to her. I read her Dr. Seuss, I read her a book of Greek myths, I read her a book of fairytales. I read in English, French, and Portuguese. When PK was about 2 or 3 months old, I discovered that reading Goodnight Moon to her before bedtime was great for helping her fall asleep. It was miraculous. Somewhere along the way, however, we stopped doing that. I think it's because Goodnight Moon just didn't have its magical effect anymore.
As she got older, I found that I didn't read as much to her anymore. First off, she didn't sleep as much (I read to her a lot while she slept in my arms). Secondly, she just didn't want to sit still while I read to her. Lastly, I didn't have enough baby-friendly books. Sure, we'd bought her a ton of kids books, but they were for older kids - picture books with lots of words. I now know why the baby books are mostly pictures with VERY few words. Still, I did try to read to her at least once a day, whether she liked it or not. She also went to storytime every week, so she got her fill of reading there. The lady who runs it would read 3 to 4 stories each week.
Eventually, PK began taking an interest in books. I think this started 2 or 3 months ago. At that point, I'd resorted to reading to her either while she was sitting on the floor playing, playing in her exer-saucer, or sitting in the hubby's lap. I couldn't have her sitting in my lap while I read to her because she got squirmy and had the urge to pull the book from my hands and either eat it or flip to the cover and start slapping it. While this is very entertaining, it is frustrating when you're trying to read a story. Still, the slapping and book-eating at least showed that she was aware of books. I'm told that this sort of thing helps to promote literacy because it gets kids used to books. Makes sense, doesn't it?
Anyway, we thought for the longest time that we were just reading all of these stories in vain. Sure, she thought that books were fun toys, but that's about it. One of her favorite things of all-time (still to this day) is standing up in front of her bookcase and pulling as many books out of it as she can. She doesn't discriminate. Any book is fair game.
Then one day, the unthinkable happened. We were getting ready to put PK to bed. The hubby had her drinking a bottle in his lap. I did the usual of pulling up my exercise ball beside the glider, getting ready to read her a book. I had Goodnight Moon with me. All of a sudden, PK pushed the bottle away and sat right up. She was ready for her story! She shrieked with delight as I read each page - she actually recognized the story and the pictures. The hubby and I were just floored.
These days, I read three books to PK every night, usually two English books (one of them being Good Night Moon) and one French book. I will occasionally read her a Portuguese book, but we don't have too many of these. Good Night Moon is still her favorite book, which is why I read it to her every night. The hubby and I alternate reading this book, with each of us takes a page.
PK still very much enjoys closing the book and slapping the cover, so when I read to her, I need to keep the book close enough so that she can see it, but far enough so that she doesn't slap it shut. She has, however, in the last week or so taken interest in touchy-feely books, so I need to keep those relatively close to her. Getting PK to take interest in touchy-feely books has taken a while. There was a time when she'd touch ANYTHING BUT the part that was supposed to be for touching. It was quite amusing, but also quite frustrating. Now she actually seeks out the touchy-feely parts. Very cool.
PK has also learned to turn pages in books all by herself. She doesn't always have the book oriented the right way, and she sometimes gets stuck flipping one page back-and-forth, but it's a start. She still enjoys chewing her books, and while it's sad to see a perfectly good book being mangled, at least I know that it's promoting literacy and that it's well-loved. You can't ask for much more than that! And in case you're wondering, I'm only letting her eat/play with board books. Those things can totally take a beating and still look okay-ish at the end of the day.
Here are some of PK's favorites:
Let's Dance Little Pookie
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
Moo Baa La La La
Le Crocodile Glouton
Les Chiffres avec les Animaux de la Ferme
Les Coulers avec les Animaux Tropicaux
Guess How Much I Love You
Pat the Bunny
That's Not my Bunny
Raising A Screen Smart Kid in The New York Times
5 weeks ago