I have raised two very hungry caterpillars, who love to read and who I love reading to. It is how we would unwind at the end of the day. From board books to chapter books, each page of each book has revealed to me a little something about them, without their knowledge.
Here are some of the reasons I don’t miss a single opportunity to read to them each night.
1) A GATEWAY into their minds
Books may be rightfully called a gateway to the world but for me, as a parent, they have been a secret passage into my children’s minds. For instance I could tell if my child was an auditory learner or a visual learner, what his current interests were, his skill level and if he was ready to move to the next book.
As months and years went by, I learned about his sense of humor, capacity for facts, how he analyzed abstract topics or how his imagination stretched. This has tremendously helped me coach them through their school year.
2) A FOUNDATION for life-long literacy skills
I fondly remember how at 8 or 9 months old my children had strong preferences in books. They would force the books that they loved into my hands and demand a reading. I would gladly oblige, for the 100th time. The pleasure indeed was all mine. I got to witness their progress as they started mouthing some words during our reading and then saying the last word from each verse, then the last couple of words and then complete sentences.
We graduated from board books to 1-2-3 level books to chapter books and now there are so many more. I know that it won’t be long before they enthusiastically discuss a book of a contemporary author that I may not have heard of.
3) A non-preachy dose of VIRTUES
As parents we are the role models to our children, the ones to teach them right from wrong. But even we need outside help from time to time.
I’ve noticed that my children imbibe and emulate virtues of their favorite fictional characters a lot easier than when they are simply being preached to by Mom or Dad. “The Book of Virtues” and “Berenstain Bears” have been my go-to books whenever we needed an “outside job”.
4) A way to introduce new topics a.k.a. “THE VEGGIES”
Once your kids start reading on their own they tend to pick books they love. But we also need to serve some “veggies” form time to time, and the most nutritional ones are an acquired taste. So now we have a rule that I read my picks and they get to read their favorites.
For example, my picks are on social sciences, biographies, science while they may pick books on the animal kingdom, mystery or comedy. Once the topic is introduced and the interest develops, they are a lot more likely to pick it up next time on their own.
Having two kids has helped me because invariably one of them likes a topic being introduced and then influences the other one to be more attentive.
5) A yoga-stretch of their IMAGINATION
Kids are not as influenced by preconceived notions as adults are. Playing games while reading really proves this and stretches their imagination.
Occasionally we play games like “How would you end this story?” or “Make a song title”. I am always amazed at what they come up with and how I could never think like they do.
6) A way to say that you CARE
Unlike food or other basic needs, this nighttime ritual is completely optional and therefore the one I try to stick to without an exception, that is whenever I am home and not travelling.
No matter how early I may have woken up or how early I may need to be up the next day, we don’t miss our reading time. They have learned to expect it from me so I try not to disappoint. To me it’s a simple way to let them know that nothing is more important than this time between them and I.
7) A way to TRAVEL without leaving your home
From farms to oceans, mythical lands to ancient cities, from war zones to labs with scientists and fields with archaeologists, we have been to many different places without leaving our home.
The more books you read, the more journeys you can take. Just imagine the joy you will feel when you see your child getting lost in those worlds and expressing their recently gained knowledge in a joyful wonder all on their own.
What Legacy Will You Leave?
Children are getting introduced to video games before they have even hit 2 years of age. I see children wearing glasses more than I have before. We need to take the responsibility of passing on the legacy of reading to the younger generation more seriously and hopefully they will do the same when it is their turn.
Here at Nested Bean, we don't just love helping babies to sleep longer and better with swaddles and sleep sacks, but we also love to see them grow and learn by reading books. So lets initiate something together. Help us put together a list of the best children’s books by age and we will post it for other parents like you to see. Please let us know your favorite children’s books from ages 0-10 years in the comments section. Help us make a difference.
Here is a link to our 6 best classic children's books. Let us know if you agree and share your picks in the comments below!
- Manasi Gangan
Founder, Inventor, Mom.