A friend of mine has the flu--the nasty, ache-all-over, wanting-to-curl-up-in-a-corner type. (They didn't test for swine flu, so let's assume it is generic.) This is not good. But I got a bonus from her misfortune. I got to spend several hours yesterday enjoying her 1 1/2 year old son. Dominic is cute as a bug and lots of fun. I have known and hugged him mercilessly since the day he was born (and before that I just loved him without the hugging). His mother and father have read to him from very early in his existence.
It is not wonder, then, that Dominic loves his books. They are scattered around the house so he can grab them whenever needed. There are special books that are just read at bedtime and others that are available any time of the day.
One of the many highlights of yesterday was watching Dominic pick up a book on his own and read it to us. He may not have enunciated the words in any way that I could understand. He may not have started at the beginning and finished at the end. What he did do was clearly enjoy the book. He picked up. Turned it until it was right side up. Then he began to read. It was clear that he was reading because he used expression as he read, pausing every so often for dramatic effect. He turned the pages. He stopped to admire the pictures and point to things that interested him. It was wonderful and spontaneous.
Dominic won't really be reading for several years now, though he is so bright that it might not be that many years. What he is already doing is loving books and adventures that they contain.
Here is where I get on my little soap box: READ TO CHILDREN. Start early and keep reading to them as long as they will let you.
My younger daughter let me read to her until she was well into Middle School. I can only hope that she enjoyed it as much as I did. I know that she is still a reader and library user. I enjoy sharing book ideas with both of my daughters.
Watching the growth of appreciation for books and reading is one of the many joys of parenthood. I am so lucky to be getting the opportunity to observe it again through Dominic and through my niece's daughter who, at five, is now an independent reader. (I wish you were closer, Elise, so I could share books with you on a regular basis.)