And and and!
I will get caught up, and soon, but not tonight, because the weekend is still not over, and I'm still enjoying myself too much to spend a lot of time with my computer.
But before I frolic off into the summer night, let me tell you about Thursday, when I read to Espen.
As this is something we've already been doing on a pretty non-regular basis, I thought I would look into some of the benefits of reading to your baby, both for the benefit of this project, and as an incentive to do this more regularly with Espen.
I already knew that reading to your children from an early age was a good idea, but while reading up (ha!) for this project helped me realize some benefits that I hadn't thought too much about.
For example, did you know:
- Even newborns will study your speech patterns and learn how to make sounds while listening to your voice reading.
- Being close to you and listening to your voice feels safe and cozy, which helps babies recognize reading as something pleasurable to do.
- Bright colours and high contrast images in picture books help stimulate young babies' vision.
- Books should be accessible to your children at all ages, so when they enjoy putting everything in their mouth (Hello Espen!), make sure they have books that can stand up to that.
- Babies enjoy pattern, repetition and predictability, so older babies will love it when they can recognize and predict where their favourite story is going. Younger babies will enjoy the familiarity of listening to your voice and turning and looking at the pages.
- With younger babies it's less about the book as a story, than it is about the book as an object, so allow them (and yourself) to explore the book in all kinds of ways.
A few good reading resources, where I found much of my information for this post: Reading Rocket, Scholastic, PBS and Grow Up Reading. I especially liked this Scholastic article.
Now, over to me and Espen.
With a few trial and error attempts, I found that a good way to read to him is to have us both lie down on our backs on the floor, and hold the book up above us. That way Espen can comfortably look at the pictures and kick his legs in excitement without me having to juggle him and the book at the same time.
We tried a few different books. First Winter Lullaby, which I love for its beautiful illustrations. It usually holds Espen's attention pretty well, but of course, on the day I had chosen to be "Read to Espen" day, he was just the squirmiest kid alive. Oh well. Another one of his "favourites" (as determined by me!) includes Baby Faces, which just shows a lot of different babies looking happy, sad, puzzles, tired, etc. Espen will almost always look at the pictures with great interest and shout at the baby hiding in the basket. It's pretty cute.
Another one of our discoveries is that timing is key. While reading before bed seems cozy and lovely in theory, our reading day taught us that postponing bed time so you can finish the story, does not help the infant attention span. Similarly, reading doesn't necessarily have to happen in the Reading Chair at Reading Time. I've found that keeping a simple board book like Baby Faces by his changing table is nice because it allows us to work in a quick read between other activities. And it's a good way to distract Espen from the traumas of just having had his onesie changed.
My goodness, I have a lot to say on this topic! But that is only because I think that reading is so important. Testify! Now go read to a baby!
This project was suggested by the lovely Barb, whose job I envy daily.
Image borrowed here.