Saturday, November 14, 2015

Read, read, read!

"..don't worry about the bits you can't understand.
Sit back and let the words wash around you, like music."

- Mrs Phelps in Roald Dahl's Mathilda
The best advice the pediatrician gave us when our first child was born was to read to him every day. In addition to being a great way to spend time together, reading builds language and listening skills, teaches facts, and feeds the imagination. Being new parents with zero parenting experience, we latched onto this simple and doable piece of advice from the start. My husband would sit and read New Scientist articles to infant James while I cooked dinner. I would read James textbook accounts of Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration as I prepared for lectures. James would drift off to sleep each night to tales of Thomas the Train, Winnie the Pooh, or Curious George. Then, when James was old enough to sit up and paw through board books, we moved onto those. We read The Gruffalo and Go, Dog. Go! so many times that we eventually knew them by heart! We were thrilled when James was able to follow chapter books, as there were so many wonderful stories from our own childhoods that we wanted to share with him. We started with Enid Blyton, and before we knew it, James was hooked on just about any series we introduced him to -- from Harry Potter to Lemony Snicket. We also used this opportunity to read classics that we'd missed as children, like The Secret Garden  and The Indian in the Cupboard.