Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Side Effect of Reading Aloud: Getting Caught Reading

My oldest child was born a book lover. She carefully inspected the pages of books from the earliest of age, knowing not to chew on the corners or rip out pages. She carried them around like golden treasures that were part of her every being. I scoffed at parents that describe difficulties reading to their children as though, somehow, they were doing it wrong. Raising a bookworm was easy.

And then, little Miss J came along. She threw books that were handed to her. She chewed relentlessly on the corners and pages of board books, destroying these precious jewels that we had in pristine condition from my oldest child's infant days. She ran around when I tried to read to her, and I was very, very frustrated. THIS was not fun. THIS was not relaxing. Reading aloud was like taming a wild beast into submission, and it felt somewhat forced.

 My oldest fell in love with books just because they were books, patiently listening to me read for long periods every night, however my youngest pranced around the room as I read to the air. I worked really hard to find ways to engage my little wild thing, sometimes referred to as a toddler.

I thought she wasn't paying attention. I was terrified because there is no shortage of data proving how incredibly critical those first years of life are for brain development. I have been a fully committed partner for Read Aloud. I know reading with your child 15 minutes a day is so important. I was afraid that if she didn't appear to be completely engrossed with each moment of my reading aloud to her,  all this time invested would just be a waste.

I assumed that she didn't care about our book reading before bed, until one night when I tried to put her to bed without books.

"Books!!! Books!!!!" my toddler screamed. "BOOKS!!!!"

So I obliged. And we read together. And she fell asleep clinging to her little collection of Gossie & Friends Board Book Gift Set. There were five of them, and these were the tiniest of board books. These were her bedtime books. These were her loveys. I was smitten.

And so began my daughter's love of books.

Now, there is nothing I love more than catching her reading.

Caught reading in the rocking chair.

 Caught reading to her horse.

 Caught reading in the car.

Caught reading to Little Critters.

Caught reading with her sister. 

I do believe the best side effect I have noticed thus far from reading aloud to my kids is catching them reading on their own free will.

And make sure to check out Pragmatic Mom's Series of sharing kids getting caught in the act of reading.

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