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Why you should read books to your infants

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Wide White: Why you should read books to your infants

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why you should read books to your infants

Mommy blogs are all the rage. A mom puts up a blog, starts typing and BAM! - she's got a part time job bloggin with all of the ad revenue she's getting from all of the other mommies drawn to what she has to say.

I haven't really seen that same phenomenon develop with daddy blogs. I've rarely even seen a daddy blog. I have no intention to start a daddy blog trend. But I do want to pause for a little public service announcement...

Read books to your children! Yes, that includes when they're infants staring blankly ahead, seemingly non-responsive.

Why should you do this? Well, there are studies out there to tell you why. I know this because my wife tells me they're there and she's pretty current on kid studies thanks to those mommy bloggers and her pure intellectual prowess.

Evidence for me often has to be experienced though. When Jamie started reading to Carson and Keira, they were pretty immobile and as far as I could tell didn't understand a darn thing she was reading. And really, they probably didn't.

But their brains were working. Jamie knew this because she read those nifty studies. I didn't because, well, logic just told me that was ridiculous. Their eyes wandered away from the books at first anyway. They seemed disinterested, but Jamie kept on reading.

I was playing with my kids this afternoon when Keira grabbed But Not the Hippopotamus, by Sandra Boynton (read her bio on Wikipedia or visit her website to see just how cool she is), and handed it to me. Well, she threw it at me, actually, but I got the point and read her the book.

Carson and Keira both love books. We read them at least one book every night before bed. We read books to them if they're fussy and need to be calmed down. Read them a book and they're hypnotized.

When I finished reading But Not the Hippopotamus this afternoon and put it down, Keira immediately picked it up and threw it back on my lap. She snuck a little fuss in there too, her way of begging, "Please read it again!"

Now, my kids have never said anything cohesive. Their communicative skills are minimal. Keira claps occasionally. Carson snaps his fingers and waves bye-bye occasionally. Neither really does much on command. They're still in the "laugh-cry-smile" communicative stage. But they love their books!

I read But Not the Hippopotamus to Keira again. And again and again and again. Finally after the 5th time reading the book, putting it down, and having it thrown back on my lap, I was able to quickly set the book aside in a hidden location.

Undeterred, she quickly found another Sandra Boynton favorite, The Going to Bed Book. She worked a few readings of that book out of me before I had to have a break and was able to hide that book too.

Keira is only 11 months old, but she already loves books. Sure, it's just as important that her dad's been making faces and babbling to her since she was a newborn. But it's so critical that her mom had the foresight to sit down and read to her when her dad didn't think it mattered yet.

Read books to your kids. They'll be better off for it. And as I'm finding with so many other things in parenting, so will you.

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Blogger sarahepm declared,

"A hog and frog do a dance in the bog..." :)
Derek's favorite is Fifteen Animals. Same author. 14 of the animals are named Bob except for the turtle at the end. He brings it over to us and says "READ BOB!" (All caps because he usually yells it.) We forgot his books on the last trip to visit my parents and it didn't matter. We know them all from memory so here are two parents on an airplane reciting word for word ever Sandra Boynton we could think of!

1/31/2011 8:58 AM  
Anonymous heather declared,

"but not the armadillo"

I read and read... even when Cohen didn't seem to pay attention (which was most days)until this past weekend.. he wanted me to read the same book over and over. 5 times... for me I was SO excited. I'm sure in the future, I won't be so excited but for now.. I am excited!

2/01/2011 10:14 PM  

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