Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Monday, October 17, 2011

Raising Readers

As some of you may know I have a degree in Elementary Education. I never intended to be a teacher, it was merely a pit stop on my way to my Masters and Behavior Analyst board certification. As some of you also know the pregnancy and boys have put an indefinite hold on these plans.  Most of the classes that I took in college were somewhat silly in my opinion (I mean really, in Teaching Elementary PE we played red light green light, and in Teaching Elementary math we played with blocks while our teacher read us children's math books). Little did I know I would have twins that I now plan to homeschool! All of those materials and lesson plans are going to come in handy in a few years. One of the classes I actually enjoyed was called Children's Literature. We learned all about creating a language rich environment, and constantly reading to pupils to teach a love for reading.

My mom always read books to me, maybe that's why I like books so much. Also, a dear woman that I highly respect taught me by example how to instill a love of reading in children. She is a kindergarten teacher turned stay at home mom extraordinaire whose children I used to provide ABA for and babysit. Her children, now  almost 7 and 9, (where has the time gone!!!) love books and reading. I always thought when I became a mom I would be the mom that she and my mom were.

And so, a long time ago I started my children's literature collection. I had to buy some books for the class that I mentioned, at thrift shops I picked up favorite titles from my childhood,  every time I bought a home decorating, christian fiction, or cooking book I would also pick up a few sale priced children's books, and whenever I saw a good book for my clients at work I grabbed it and took it to work until they were done with it. My mom was generous enough to let me have some of the books she read to me when I was little (though not the special ones.) Some of the books I remember loving as a child I searched for on Ebay and purchased. Still others reside on my Amazon wishlist.

Needless to say when the boys arrived they had a very full bookshelf full of beloved stories. Everything from Goodnight Moon, to Skippyjon Jones comprised our library. When the boys were in my belly I tried to talk to them, but sometimes I didn't know what to say, so I read to them. When they arrived and had to spend nine days in NICU I took a backpack full of books up to their bedside along with my ipod and some speakers. I would take them to the nursing room and read to them each night, and pray with them- knowing this would be our bedtime routine at home. I spent hours in the uncomfortable chair between their bassinets pumping and softly humming along to the classical music coming from our ipod. There were few things that I could do for them in those early days; the nurses were always insisting that I would bother them and make them burn off more calories, but I felt they needed to know I was there, and so I read and sang to them. When we came home, I didn't know what to do with them when they weren't sleeping! So I read and sang. They seemed to enjoy hearing my voice, often falling asleep as I read chapter books to them.

From the very beginning we had a set bedtime routine. They stayed up all night, so st first we just picked and evening feeding and did our routine, trying as hard as possible to keep it dark and quiet on subsequent feeding until morning (I shudder thinking of those early nights!) Our routine was fairly simple. Bath (usually just a wipedown with a cloth and a diaper change) PJs, and a warm bottle as we listened to praise music. After they finished their bottles I read to them. Sometimes in the early days I read books without pictures or books for older children and some days I just read poetry. After that we would pray, swaddle them and put them in their crib. That's still our routine, pretty much to a t. The only thing that has changed much is the size of the bottles and the types of books.

At around 3 months, when the boys started to show interest in toys I bought them a cloth book. All the book had were large pictures. However, each picture did something. The first page a door opened to show a bear, the second a crab on a string could be pulled out of a bucket, the third, a mirror was in the middle of a sunshine that took up the whole page, the fourth some ribbons shone out of a light house and on the back there was a sailboat that you could pull side to side. I would "read" this to them several times per day, making sure to show them how we turned the page, pointing out details in the pictures and narrating everything. After about a week of reading this book at playtime I noticed they were more interested in their bedtime stories, so I began to choose books with colorful pictures. They loved those. And then around 4 months we started reading primarily board books. We only had about 10 of them and we read them over and over- at playtime and bedtime. They started to try to "help" turn the pages.

At this time I started buying more board books. And we began to read at least ten books per day. The boys loved it! They got more excited over a book than a musical toy. That's the way they still are. They love to turn the pages, and look at the pictures. Often they fight over them. When I read to them it seems they are really listening. I feel that we have gotten a really good start in the literacy department. It is never to early to start reading to your baby, and once you start they won't let you start!!! Children who are read to often learn to read earlier, have larger vocabularies, and go farther in college. So if you haven't yet, begin reading today.

Here is our current list of favorite stories
Goodnight Moon
Blue Hat Green Hat
Tiggers Breakfast
Dear Zoo
Brow Bear Brown Bear What do You See?
But not the Hippopotamus
Spot Loves his Daddy
Guess how Much I love You
Skippyjon Jones Shape up
Happy Hippo Angry Duck
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Hand Hand Fingers Thumb


dearestdaughter said...

Great book selections and advice, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Angela! We also started reading to our twins at a young age. They love reading and spend hours a day just sitting with books. Now they "read" to themselves and to each other. The love of reading is something I definitely wanted our boys to have. I'm proud of them for enjoying books as much as I do. Some of your favorites are our favorite ones too.

Liz said...

Yes we are in Eglin. Went to Pensacola yesterday. Panama City today. Househunting all next week.

Liz said...

Responded to your comment on my site. Love to hear what you have to say about SCH.

Pnksunflwrs4ever at yahoo dot com