Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reading to Neena

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
— Emilie Buchwald

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all."
— Jacqueline Kennedy

"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!"
— A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island."
— Walt Disney

Jake and I are both avid readers and we were lucky enough to have parents who read to us when we were just wee little ones. We are passionate about instilling the love of reading in our dear Neena and we have made a commitment to read to her lots and lots. Her nursery even pays homage to the love of reading:

(photos by AndreaG Photography)

Last night I captured my husband reading to Neena. What a beautiful moment shared between a daughter and her daddy.

According to an article on reading offers numerous benefits to babies:

-teaches a baby about communication
-introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way
-builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills
-gives babies information about the world around them

Believe it or not, by the time babies reach their first birthday they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. The more stories you read aloud, the more words your child will be exposed to and the better he or she will be able to talk. Hearing words helps to imprint them on a baby's brain. Kids whose parents frequently talk/read to them know more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to. And kids who are read to during their early years are more likely to learn to read at the right time.

When reading, your child hears you using many different emotions and expressive sounds, which fosters social and emotional development. Reading also invites your baby to look, point, touch, and answer questions — all of which promote social development and thinking skills. And your baby improves language skills by imitating sounds, recognizing images, and learning words.

But perhaps the most important reason to read aloud is that it makes a connection between the things your baby loves the most — your voice and closeness to you — and books. Spending time reading to your baby shows that reading is a skill worth learning.

Great Tips on Reading with your Baby (

Cuddling while you read helps your baby feel safe, warm, and connected to you.

Read with expression, pitching your voice higher or lower where it's appropriate or using different voices for different characters.

Don't worry about following the text exactly. Stop once in a while and ask questions or make comments on the pictures or text. ("Where's the kitty? There he is! What a cute black kitty.") Your child might not be able to respond yet, but this lays the groundwork for doing so later on.

Sing nursery rhymes, make funny animal sounds, or bounce your baby on your knee — anything that shows that reading is fun.

Babies love — and learn from — repetition, so don't be afraid of reading the same books over and over. When you do so, repeat the same emphasis each time as you would with a familiar song.

As your baby gets older, encourage him or her to touch the book or hold sturdier vinyl, cloth, or board books. You don't want to encourage chewing on books, but by putting them in his or her mouth, your baby is learning about them, finding out how books feel and taste — and discovering that they're not edible!

*** also offers some great articles on reading with your child. This article provides 10 tips for developing a love a reading. And, the most recent issue of "Mothering" magazine has a wonderful article on reading. ***

What are some of your favorite books to read with your little one?


I love the locally-owned Beaverdale Books

The Des Moines Public Libraries are awesome, and checking out books insead of buying them is a great eco-friendly practice

However, I LOVE owning books and stacking them in our numerous bookshelves so I buy used books from or at the local Half Price Books

Where do you buy your books in Des Moines?

And, check out your local Kohls store for Kohls Cares for Kids merchandise; Currently they are selling Dr. Seuss books and stuffed characters for $5 each. All proceeds benefit children's health and education intiatives nationwide. How cool is that?!

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