Do you remember the first time your mom or dad scooped you up in their lap and sat down on the floor or in a comfy chair to read to you? Odds are, probably not. But those collective memories of them reading to you over the years – and often reading your favorite book probably more times than anyone could count – are back somewhere in the recesses of your mind. Perhaps covered with a cobweb or two, but nevertheless they are there…
And sometimes those memories surprise you and surface at the most unexpected moments. Those memories of reading in your parent or grandparent’s lap are like the smell of baking cookies or the warmth of that special blanket wrapped around you; they mark a sense of security, a security that you end up carrying with you wherever you go and ultimately have the opportunity to pass on to your own children and grandchildren.
But sometimes it’s hard to know when, where or how to begin reading to your children…The fact is, it’s never too early to start, and it doesn’t really matter what book you start with or where you choose to sit; it really all begins with the ritual, a closeness and time well spent together. Reading time with your child won’t take long, at least to start. And the funny thing is, later on you’ll end up wishing it would last just a little bit longer…
In the beginning you will be making all the choices for your kids on when, where and what books to read. But it won’t be long before your child or grandchild will be coming to you with their own book or books of choice in hand, and asking you to take a few minutes, and hit the pause button on whatever you might be doing as they climb in your lap for a bit of reading time. Best advice here: Just do it. Take them up on it, every chance you get; because those moments, they do make memories.
If you are looking for specific books or a particular place to start, at first it is the pictures that give books meaning for kids and your voice naming those pictures, and then reading simple sentences and simple stories. And then come the sounds. A few books you could start with that were well –worn books early on in our child’s bookshelf include:
- Goodnight Moon
- The Hungry Caterpillar
- My First Book of Sounds
- Animals at Night
Reading is not just a family tradition; it is actually a legacy, a gift from you to your children and grandchildren. Taking the time to sit with them – up close and secure in your lap – that is a gift without measure. And if you truly want to know how to turn children into life-long lovers of books and reading, author Emilie Buchwald says it quite simply…
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
– Emilie Buchwald