Welcome to March edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama. This month’s topic is “Discovering Through Books”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!
As a child and young adult I loved books. I have wanted to be a librarian since I was 10. I volunteered at an elementary school library for three years as a high school student and for one semester as a college student. Knowing this background, it’s a given that my daughter owns the most books on the block… most likely anyway! Books have given us some opportunities that I would like to share.
I’m not the only one that had their parents (in my case, my dad) read to them at bedtime. It’s a great bonding experience for many children and parents. Just before weaning, I didn’t want to lose the bond that breastfeeding had given us. Remembering that she crawled into my lap voluntarily to read books with me helped a lot with this transition.
Early literacy awareness
Before she could talk, I would read her many books and a lot of nursery rhymes. Just last year she began to talk and around her second birthday, she started to sing the nursery rhymes. She also likes to rhyme words, and I contribute this to the early exposure of songs and books. It doesn’t hurt that I sing many of the songs with her. She is also able to associate pictures in books with their names, for example identifying animals and the sounds they make. She is continually surprising us with her vocabulary and knowledge, and she is beginning to notice and ask questions about the little details in the illustrations.
What I haven’t mentioned yet, but an important part of this post, is that we’re raising our child bilingual. She mostly speaks German, and I treasure her German books because they help me out just as much as her. Illustrations are a hallmark in children’s literature. While reading a German book, it also features pictures of typical German supermarkets, houses (both the interior and exterior), schools, and parks. I like that when we are home and not visiting Oma and Opa, she doesn’t easily forget what Germany looks like. Did you know that onomatopoeias differ from language to language? For example, here in the US my daughter will learn that a rooster crows “Cock-a-doodle-doo” but in Germany a rooster cries out “Kikeriki”, or a frog croaks “ribbit” in the the US, but in Germany it croaks “quak! quak!” Books help to identify these cultural differences easily. When she is older, she’ll appreciate the subtle idiosyncrasies in illustrations that speak volumes about culture, for instance one of her Christmas books features little forest animals preparing for the holiday. Papa Mouse is wearing house shoes inside their home while he is playing the violin and the little mice practice singing carols.
I associate some books with tradition. The one that comes to mind is The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. My dad read this to us every Christmas Eve. Of course, now I want to read that to my daughter every Christmas Eve. I hope the we can start our new reading traditions as well.
My plan to encourage reading
I have a video recording of my eight-month-old daughter mouthing on a book. I have always kept books as accessible to her as possible, so at her eye-level. Teaching her to respect books is a priority for me, but I hope to be stricter with the next baby (no more chewing on books!) I love her books and I don’t want them to get worn out too quickly. However, encouraging reading doesn’t only occur when our children are babies, toddlers or even as preschoolers. I am looking forward to reading chapter books with her, and when she’s a little older, we could even read a book separately and later discuss it together. We could do this more formally by participating in the local library’s “Great Reads for Girls”– a mother/daughter reading group for ages 8-12. They have a similar program for boys as well. She will have a huge selection of books written in English at her finger tips, but honestly she will not have an abundant young adult library as she does now at 2 1/2 years old. I have already purchased some classic books written in German for elementary students. We’ll see how we can try to even out the exposure to young adult German- and English books as the time comes, perhaps an e-reader will help us with this goal.
Being a model
Having young children in the house will help encourage me to read more (to set an example!) Last year I joined the Adult Book Discussion Group at the local library. I have enjoyed most of their book picks and I hope to continue modeling reading as a hobby and a valuable source of learning and acquiring information.
Visit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Books and Play — MudpieMama at The Positive Parenting Connection is sharing a fun play based activity that enhances reading comprehension, vocabulary and attention.
- Using Literature to Talk with Your Child About Money — Pam from The MoneyTrail Blog shares her 12 favorite stories to initiate conversations about money with your child.
- Reconnecting Through Reading — Reading aloud with our children has its many rewards, from increased vocabulary and reading skills to creative thinking and problem solving skills. At Living Peacefully with Children, reading is also a time to reconnect at the end of the day.
- It’s a Book Party — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares a fun way she encourages reading at her house.
- The Importance of Storytelling — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses the importance of storytelling as well as how to select a book worthy of reading with your young child.
- I Love Books! And I Hope My Daughter Does, Too. — Becky at Old New Legacy shares ideas and experiences in her attempt to raise a bookworm.
- The Wonderful World of Children’s Books — Carrie @ LoveNotesMama shares her enthusiasm and adoration for the joys and gifts that children’s books bring.
- Books, Have They Become Obsolete? — Laura at Authentic Parenting investigates wether there’s still room for books in this modern world of internet and digital readers.
- Books and Unschooling a Preschooler — Lauren at Hobo Mama follows her four-year-old’s lead through mummies, digestion, and whale sharks.
- Beyond Reading: How Books Help Us Live and Learn — Sheila of A Living Family describes how, more than helping her children learn to read, books help her family live and learn together.
- Once Upon a Time, There Was a Princess With a Career Plan… — Helen @ zen mummy wonders how – and if – the tales our children hear influence their future