She really does, but it did take her a bit of getting used to.
Steve and I have read to Abbey since she was two days old (the day we arrived home from the hospital). Every day. Several books each day. When she first began moving around, she wouldn't sit still for a story, but we persisted (read this wonderful guest post on Kids Book Review for tips on reading to wriggly little ones!).
And it really has paid off.
Within a few months, she was asking us to read to her, and sitting down for the story.
Not long after that, she began repeating words and actions from her favourite stories - a beautiful reward for all the repetition of reading to a little one!
Now, reading stories together is a special time for us. It also brings back some wonderful memories of my childhood - every night before bed, no matter how exhausted Mum was, she would sit with me and we would read together. And now I'm creating that with my daughter - a time to disappear together in another world, sharing whatever adventure the book holds within its covers.
A time we can have some fun, ignoring the demands of the rest of the world. A time for Abbey.
And that is what reading is about, right? Aside from the educational, literacy side of things, enjoying a book is a wonderful escape and an important time away from the rush of everyday life.
So, here are my tips for reading to a baby or toddler:
- When choosing a book, don't take the target age as gospel. Abbey has heaps of books that are targeted towards 2+, 3+ and even 4+ - as long as the illustrations are interesting to them and the story isn't too long for their age, they might still love it.
- Remove distractions, turn off the television and give your child your full attention.
- Read the favourites over and over. Your little one won't be shy in requesting a story again and again. And again and again and again. And again. They love the repetition of it and they do learn a lot from that, so try to put aside your impatience and go with it.
- Lose your inhibitions - dance around, pull silly faces, do funny voices and use lots of expression (there's no need to be shy - your child won't judge you!). Kids really respond when you make things funny, and it's a great time to share a giggle together.
- Make it repetitious - have a certain action, noise or song at a particular part of a book.
- Have fun!
- Or, with a quiet bedtime story, try to have a cuddle together (although, with a little one like mine who adores her personal space, this isn't always possible!) and read a reassuring, rhythmic story.
Some favourites here are:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett
Ten in the Bed by Penny Dale
Any Spot book
Any book with photos of babies or animals (DK do some awesome books like this)
Dogs by Emily Gravett
The Wrong Book by Nick Bland
Bottoms Up by Jeanne Willis
Josephine Wants to Dance by Jackie French
I regularly update Abbey's favourite books down the sidebar on the left-hand-side, too!
Our favourite bedtime stories at the moment are:
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
Goodnight Me by Andrew Daddo
Or, for some great tips and information on reading aloud:
The Reading Bug and How To Help Your Child Catch It by Paul Jennings
Reading Magic by Mem Fox
Find out more about the Babies Love Books campaign.
And, for more information on Babies Love Books, story suggestions and ideas, check out Kids Book Review - one of my favourite websites in the world. (You can also 'like' KBR on Facebook here, and follow us on Twitter here for all the updates).