By Qin Sun Stubis
During the first few months of their lives, infants are practically immobile and spend a lot of time lying on their backs in the crib. Their world is limited to their immediate surroundings, the crib, the nursery, the house, and you. And their tender bodies and minds depend completely on you for nourishment.
When born with hearing and sight, babies can listen and see long before they are able to sit, stand, crawl and babble. When they are not asleep, they listen and survey what’s around them. Imagine picking up your little precious bundle, cradling her in your loving arms and reading to her. Your voice provides both stimulation and comfort. You’ve also made books part of your child’s life from day one.
Babies’ first books are as essential and vital to their existence as their infant formula and puréed vegetables and fruits. They are the nutrition to these young minds and souls. So, when you attend a baby shower, shower the expecting parents with your favorite childhood books. And, before you attend a child’s birthday party, head to a bookstore and pick out some exciting, colorful reading.
As infants grow and evolve into toddlers, kindergarteners, and teenagers, their book collection should also grow with them, catering to their new needs and interests. Therefore, it is very important to review and update what is on their bookshelves, the way you do with racks of clothes in their closets.
Reading to your children is a wonderful way to spend meaningful family time. The more you read, the more they learn. Their curious minds go on expeditions with you, exploring every corner of the world right there in your own home. So, why not do it every day? Why not make reading together a family tradition?
We cannot wait and start to worry about our children’s reading and writing ability only when we see them struggling with school assignments, getting a bad grade in English, or performing poorly on the SAT. Reading every day for life promotes their language skills, scope of knowledge, and analytical ability. It also teaches them to be inquisitive and curious about much more of our world.
Books will always be our children’s best friends. Learning starts right at home. This March, let’s celebrate the Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s 115th birthday by reading books to our children. Let’s make family reading part of our lives.