Oh Baby! A Change in my Reading Habits

OhBaby

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted! In that time, my husband and I moved into our first house, went several days without cable or internet, and attended the wedding of a college roommate. We’ve unpacked boxes, made a few trips to the hardware store, and settled into a new rhythm. This weekend, my parents are coming to help us with a fun home project: baby’s nursery!

That’s right. I’m 30 weeks pregnant and there isn’t much time left before baby arrives. We’ve got paint colors selected (yellow, white, and gray—in case you’re curious!), the crib has been delivered, and a dresser and glider are ordered and on their way. I’ve also been preparing for baby by reading baby books. A few of the titles I’ve been reading (mostly from the library):

  • Your Week by Week Pregnancy by Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
  • The Joy of Pregnancy by Tori Kropp
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman

Needless to say, this has certainly been a change from my typical YA lit-fix!

In addition to print books, I’ve also been fascinated by a recent string of articles about reading to infants and kids. For instance, in the article “Pediatricians prescribe books, daily reading to all infants, kids for a healthy brain,” the author notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents “read to their children every day from infancy at least until kindergarten, and advocates that pediatricians emphasize the importance of daily reading during each routine health checkup.” In the article “Read to Your Baby, Say Doctors—But Which Books?” the author provides a few titles to help parents figure out what to read to their babies.

As an English teacher and now a tutor who works with struggling beginning readers, I understand the importance of reading and have plans to read to my baby often. This is especially important in our digital age when it’s so easy to think that apps, e-readers, and iPads are replacing printed books. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also recommended NO SCREEN TIME for children under the age of two. The author of “Apps are nice but books are better: How to read to your kid in a digital age (book review)” notes that she’s “been surprised by how hard reading to a baby can be, in part because it’s hard to tell whether anything is sinking in.” She reviews Jason Boog’s book Born Reading, which provides helpful information about reading to infants and children. I like this article because it also includes a great video of a teacher reading a book out loud to a bunch of young children. You can see how the teacher reads expressively, pauses to ask questions about what is happening in the book, and models reading strategies as she goes. Like the author of Born Reading says, “Just having books around the house is not enough. Parents need to provide an interactive reading experience to reap the intellectual rewards inside of books.” So while baby won’t be able to understand or appreciate what I’m reading for quite a while, I plan on starting to read to her right away.

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