Friday, May 24th, 2013
Check out Part Two of this week’s posts about reading to babies and little kids. Today, the authors of Reading With Babies, Toddlers and Twos share their secrets to hitting the books for wee little babes.
5 Tips to Start a Healthy Reading Habit
1. Read now, and read some more later. Don’t try to pack in a big reading session with a baby or toddler. Pick up a picture book and read at odd moments throughout the day.
2. Digital devices can wait. Research shows that we read differently with babies when we read books from our phones and tablets. We focus more on the gadget (don’t touch! Swipe this way!) than on the words and images. We’re not saying no screen time, but apps and ebooks don’t replace a book in the hand.
3. Be messy. Don’t file the books spines out on the shelf. Go for baskets and loose piles so that there’s always a book at hand, and a mobile baby can easily shuffle through for a favorite, and keep books in every room in the house.
4. Again! Again! Why? Why must we read “Hello Baby” three times nightly for weeks on end? Small people love predictability, and they love to exercise even a little control. If you can take it, read it. If you can’t, hide it without shame, or just make sure that book goes to Grandma’s house.
5. Be a reader yourself. Parents who want to raise a baby who loves to read often love reading themselves, so pick up a book in front of your baby, toddler or two as often as you can. You may have to re-read that chapter later (or choose books that are easy to dip in and out of) but years of watching parents read adds up. If you do your reading on a tablet or ereader, show your little one you’re reading and not playing Angry Birds.
About the Authors:
KJ Dell’Antonia is the lead writer and editor of the New York Times Motherlode parenting blog. Also as a children’s book reviewer and a mother of four children, she knows which books work best and why. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two young children.
Susan Straub founded the READ TO ME program more than 20 years ago, a national workshop encouraging young families to read to their babies that is still thriving. Ms. Straub’s work with READ TO ME has been celebrated on NY1 television and in Oprah’s O magazine. She lives in New York City.
Rachel Payne is the coordinator of early childhood services at the Brooklyn Public Library. She knows why some books are carried around, colored on, taken to meals, and slept with, while others are pushed away after a single page.
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