By Gloria Carlson
The Andes Public Library is very fortunate to have two marvelous programs to promote the love of reading in the young child: Tales for Toddlers on Friday mornings from 10 until 10:30 am with Dave Cyrelson and Books and Babies on Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 with Laurie McIntosh. Do come by with your young toddler or baby and see these wonderful pros in action. (Or just come by and enjoy a good story!)
But perhaps you’re not able to join those groups every week, or you’re not near to the Andes Library. What can you do at home to give the child in your life the gift of loving books and reading?
As a former reading teacher, here are some tips. First, are the obvious ones; surround children with books even in babyhood. There are all kinds of plastic or thick board books that are able to withstand a baby’s teething instincts. Spend time looking at and talking about the illustrations. As the toddler gets to the talking stage this is a great way to promote language, and a whole host of concepts such as color, size, shape, time, numbers, names of things, before and after, and sequencing of events. By reading with your toddler, the child learns how to hold a book, turning the pages gently from left to right. The young child will also then learn which direction the book is supposed to face. Children also learn to point to the words from left to right as they hear you speak them and watch you pointing to the words as you read. Talk about the books you read together. That discussion is probably the most important way to develop their language and the lifelong love of reading.
We look forward to seeing you at the Andes Library where you, too, can see our toddlers and babies sharing, learning, using their imaginations, well on their way to becoming readers! ~