‘Children are made readers on the laps of their parents’ – Emilie Buchwald
I believe in the above statement as I am an avid reader trying to pass on the reading habit to ToddlerT. Hubby and I love reading to ToddlerT and taking her to the library and getting her to discover the joys of books, books and more books. It helps that our family is full of bookworms and most of our relatives have homes with delightful mini libraries (if not separate rooms).
No wonder then that ToddlerT is constantly being enrolled in Book Reading Programs at our local library. And of course, she’s been visiting the library regularly since she was two months old (first visit courtesy Grandma-L). Currently, T and I are finishing ‘1000 Books Before Kindergarten’ at our local library. The rules are simple, read any 1000 books. They need not be unique. It can be the same book over and over again. Color a star (star coloring booklet provided once enrolled) and collect a sticker for every 100 books read. It’s cool, has incentives for the kiddies to stay motivated and to revisit the library and inculcates a love of reading and books. But at 887 (I know! 888 looks better and/or phony depending on one’s perception), I realized that book reading has taught Mommy many lessons too!
As always (you know I am obsessed with lists), here goes my list:
- Faster: I have become a faster reader. Ok, so my speed is 683 last time I checked, but the constraints here are way tougher. Imagine trying to read the tips for parents (always in smaller print than one would like), while keeping an active, deft toddler entertained and reading for comprehension and recall definitely takes serious skills.
- More Books: I simply read more. And more of old fashioned books. I love e-readers and have no intention of letting it go any time soon. True. But ToddlerT can;t distinguish reading on a device from surfing the internet. So, while e-readers are handy for the quick minutes while doing repetitive mundane physical no brainer work; they don’t make for model behaviour. Enter old fashioned books. Mommy reading equals baby wanting to read too! Tap the power of attention-seeking and emulation! (yay!)
- Education: Books are good exercise and not just for the brain. Creativity, imagination, sorting, stacking, life lessons, books can be put to good use for all of these. ToddlerT loves stacking books and building towers. Sometimes, it’s a staircase, other times, it is a tiered cake for a furry friend in her elaborate, imaginary parties. The stories are fodder for play with her toys and for reciting to her grandparents.In fact, I enforce clean up time for only books when she is too tired to clean up toys (or too distracted/overstimulated).
- Love and Joy and Bonding Time for Mommy & Baby: The joy of cuddling a little bundle of sugar and spice as you read together is true bliss. Plus, the happiness as she points and exclaims and laughs as she follows the story is precious. My baby has already become a preschooler from a toddler. SO, these little moments are the ones I shall hold onto later.
- Free Voice training: I might be no Robin Williams or ready to usurp the role of Disney voice artists, but my voice, modulation and tone have become better. Plus, I can mow mimic at least six different voices. Added bonus: T can too!
- Sitting Practice: At a stage when T is always on the move, this is one habit that keeps her in one place – my lap for a good half an hour!
- Relaxation: Added bonus is that, I can usually relax my tired feet and body and sit down too! If I nod over, as usually do after six repetitions of the same book (6 is my cap), T will wake me up. But that’s ok. At least I am not standing or in motion.
- Strength Training: Have your tried lifting a bag of books? Trust me, these are cheaper than dumb bells and while not exactly the same, are highly effective alternatives.
- Keen Observer: Kids are naturally curious and keen and observe everything. So, if I have to field T’s questions and sate her curiosity, I need to zone in on points she will interrogate me on and keep my answers handy. Oh yes, over preparedness, strategic thinking and execution and fielding skills are not just for the board room.
Thanks for reading and hoping to report completion of 1000 books very soon! Ta-ta! Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Happy Valentine’s Day!