Never too young to read—June 11, 2010
My earliest memories of reading are sharing the newspaper with my Dad. My Mom was a stay-at-home mother when I was young, and by the time my Dad came home from work I’m sure she was ready to hand me over for an hour or two. I wasn’t very old, less than a year, when he started reading the daily newspaper to me. I would sit on his lap and recline my head on his chest while he held the paper up around us and tell me about the day’s news. Little did he know that he was modeling great behavior for me and helping me learn language skills at such an early age.
When my own daughter was born and I was home on maternity leave, I read to her a lot, even things that probably weren’t appropriate for her age, and mostly for my own sanity. However, what was important was that she heard my voice, heard me use a variety of words and by the time she was ready to put together her own sentences, she had a great vocabulary of her own.
I don’t get to work the desk at the library too often, but when I do, I notice I always gravitate toward the babies and toddlers visiting the library. I love showing them board books and reading to them and talking to their parents and caregivers about their development. I often try to make sure a family visiting the library leaves with something for everyone, including the youngest.
I’m passionate about the topic because it comes natural to me. But if you’re curious about the importance of reading aloud to children under age three, we have plenty of books at the library that can discuss the research. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease is a classic and very helpful book on not only why reading aloud is important, but how to do it as well. Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox is also a great choice for understanding the importance of making time to read to little ones. You can also enjoy many of her children’s books in our picture book collection.
So I’ve been thinking about starting a baby storytime at the library. I asked a dear friend who is a children’s librarian how to get started and she said a baby storytime is surprisingly not as much about the books, as it is about the rhymes, rhythms, parenting and networking that happens at these gatherings. Since I had a great model for me, and a little bit of practice on my own child, I think I can start a baby storytime at the library yet this summer that both parents and little ones will find fun and engaging. If you’re interested in baby storytimes, send me a note and I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s scheduled. And watch for more programs and information on early literacy as the library continues to find ways to enrich the lives of everyone in our community.