Thursday, December 08, 2011

Instilling the love of books on today's electronic era

My MIL keeps asking me if my daughter can read yet. She asks this because I've told her numerous times that we moved towards fiction based stories versus board books and Priddy type word picture books.  I explain we do use the Priddy books but storylines, fiction, full sentences and sensory benefits of page turning of paper pages is currently my daughter's interest.
Right now she's at the stage where she identifies letters and sounds and has correlations. She also is in the stage where she memorized certain words. For example since she was 2.5 she's been able to spot the word Opposites. She will even spell it out. That's because one of her favorite books is an Opposites book.  She correlates letters with ideas or objects. For example, on the violin there are four strings, A, E, D and G. She will consistently say D and say it's a Daddy string.  She'll she a word on a sign and point out that's a Daddy word if a D is included. If it starts with a  letter, she'll say things or confuse the names of the letter with the pronunciation. For example, V is not V but 'Vuh'. I'm pretty impressed by that actually.
It makes me proud she's spelling and I know that part of the stage is memorization of words but we aren't pushing it. I like her to come to it herself.
This comes to some silly comments from her. As we were walking home the other day, we saw a few boxes in the trash pile by the grocery store. She stopped and spelled the word out from the box. "O A T M E A L. Garbage Box." As we passed a local playground that is closed for renovations she read, "N O T R E S S P A S S I N G. Do not enter. Danger." {That one was pretty darn close in my opinion.} 
I'm a big book researcher. I like to find books that incorporate my child's current interests. Sometimes the books are bit more advanced but I figure we can get a longer shelf life this way. Sometimes we go back to infant board books for spelling and story telling. {I love when my child makes up stories using board books or picture books. She always amazes me with the details she focuses on within the books.} I also like to read the book first not only to anticipate but to help with engaging or incorporating the story or book to something else we've discussed that may not be a primary topic within the book. {I know I'm a geek and a dork.}
Because I research and because her interests are varied at this age, I make a wishlist of books that I keep available to me, family and friends. 
I love surprise books too but my MIL is really really bad at picking out books for our kids. I'm not sure why but every other book she picks is just bad. Either the storyline is terrible, the grammar is less than desirable or it just is too young and doesn't hold her interest.  There was one particularly bad book she sent in October. She said it was a counting board book with a Halloween theme. Problem was there was not rhyme or reason for the counting. In fact some of the counting was incorrect.  At first when I read it, I thought my post pregnancy brain was making me miss the point of the book but my husband read it to my daughter later on and even said, "I have no idea what the point of that book was. The counting is off and there is no flow to the story."
So when my MIL said she wanted to go to the bookstore to get more books for our daughter, I sent her a list of books that may capture my child's interest. As I emailed her the list, I felt the daunting task my MIL and mom must feel with my high maintenance hands on approach to parenting my children. I kind of felt bad but also proud and strongly convicted in my beliefs.
1, I don't want them to waste their money on books we won't use and 2, my daughter will benefit more with books that are actually good.
If you asked me years ago if a child's book needed as much development time as an adult novel, I'd say no but now I realize they probably even need more time and thought. I've read a good helping of children's books and every sense is touched by a good book. 
Also books help children develop opinions and strengthens expression of their opinions. I love to hear why my child likes certain books. I can see her brain in motion as she thinks about why a certain book appeals to her. She doesn't just say 'Because'. She really thinks about it and gives you great answers, sometimes obvious and sometimes not so obvious.