I've always loved reading as far back as I can remember; as a child I'd borrow the maximum 6 books allowed from the library and have to return them for more sometimes within the week! Oh, the happy hours I spent curled up in my room with 25c worth of mixed lollies and Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree...
Sadly, reading has sort of fallen by the wayside over the last couple of years, at least the sort of reading I truly enjoy. Now, titles like "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" and "What to expect the First Year" adorn my nightstand and I scan but a few pages before my weary eyes close on another exhausting day of motherhood!
I must admit that when Fern was born I had good intentions to read to her immediately. But my intentions fell by the wayside as the reality of the first few months with a newborn made me realise quick smart that reading was now a luxury, not a recreational pastime! Suddenly, almost anything was preferable to sitting reading to a baby who seemed to have no idea (or interest) in what I was doing.
Then, I read something (I think it was on the back of a cereal box, or somesuch, which says a lot about how much my reading has deteriorated!) that stated that a child must have 1000 stories read to them before they learn to read. 1000 stories!!! Even if this was only half true, 500 stories is still rather a lot!
Almost immediately, I resolved to start reading to Fern. I decided to work this into her sleeptime routine, with one story read to her before each sleep (in Fern's case, 3 stories per day). At first, this seemed an awful lot of stories, and I'll admit I was a little bored for the first week or so whilst I acclimatised to our new routine. But Ill admit, over time the reading became more enjoyable and now, months later I think I look forward to our storytime as much as Fern does!
Initially, it seems as though your child has absolutely no idea what you're doing and in fact, Fern would grizzle throughout the whole story until she got her milk which was in her mind the only important component of her sleep routine. But gradually over time, she began to demonstrate a more active interest in the stories, until one day she began turning the pages for me. Now at 13 months, Fern jabbers throughout the book, turns the pages, points at things she sees and genuinely seems to enjoy our regular storytime.
I try to choose stories with just a sentence per page and lots of clear, bright illustrations. Our favourite books at the moment are from the Spot hardcover series. Fern adores these books, and loves to lift the flaps on each page, following Spot the dog on his adventures. I secretly like these books too!
3 stories per day x 365 days = 1095 stories. By this calculation, Fern should be reading by two years old?!? Either way, I reckon Im giving her a great introduction to the absolute joy of reading, and one which will hopefully stay with her throughout her life... and that's good enough for me!
Do you faithfully read to your little poppit? What stories does your toddler adore?