Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It’s Never Too Early to Read

My husband and I are avid readers so we both really want to encourage little Pumpkin to love books as well. As a child, nothing was better than when I received a book as a gift. Actually, that is still the case with me today. To try to encourage the same love in Pumpkin, I’ve been reading to him since he was a newborn. I had to do a bit of convincing to get my husband onboard with reading that early, but he eventually came around. I think the turning point was when we finally “smarted up” and started a bedtime routine with Pumpkin. For some reason, we both thought a consistent bedtime routine was just parenting hype. However, after about three months of not having more than about three or four hours of sleep a night; I was willing to try anything. I had to cajole and persuade my husband to give it a try; however, he finally relented and quickly became a fervent believer in the bedtime routine. We started giving Pumpkin a nightly bath, a bottle and then reading two bedtime books to him: The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. The rhythm of the reading seemed to soothe and calm him and bedtimes quickly became a quick and painless endeavor. Ok, there was a little more to the sleeping success story than that (earlier bedtime, better napping) and true success (a real night’s sleep for us all) did not come until a few months later but a quick and painless bedtime was an early and much needed victory. As he got older, he definitely came to recognize the specific books we read to him at night; in fact, he would start to fuss if he was tired and we tried to read him any other story first.

Today, the child loves books. All I have to do is sit in the chair in the nursery and ask Pumpkin if he wants to read a book. Pumpkin will get an intense look on his face and race-crawl his way across the room to me, all the while making his trademark grunting noise that he makes when he just cannot get someplace fast enough. When he reaches me, he frantically sticks his arms up in the air, signaling me to pick him up and place him on my lap. We then settle in for a good read. He definitely has his favorites: any books with flaps or tabs that he can lift or pull. Any book with a focus on puppy dogs is a hit as well. Other favorites include Bear Snores On, The Big Red Barn, and Peekaboo on the Farm. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a reader!!

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