Wordless Wednesday: babies love books

Books have always been part of the boy-child's life. His father was reading The House at Pooh Corner to him while we were still in the maternity ward.

Books have always been part of the boy-child’s life. His father was reading The House at Pooh Corner to him while we were still in the maternity ward.

We discovered very early on that sharing a book with him - just holding it, reading the story and talking about the pictures would engage him.

We discovered very early on that sharing a book with him – even just holding it and talking about the pictures – was enough to engage him.

An epiphany at about five months; we handed him a book upside down and he turned it around.

An epiphany at about five months; we handed him a book upside down and he turned it right way up.

Early favourites; The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Buzzy Bee counting book, Ten Little Rabbits and appropriately enough, The Baby Who Wouldn't Go to Bed!

Early favourites; The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Buzzy Bee counting book, Duck is Dirty, Ten Little Rabbits and appropriately enough, The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed!

Adding a new dimension to the term "devouring a book."

Adding a new dimension to the term “devouring a book.”

Not much has changed really.

Not much has changed really.

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22 thoughts on “Wordless Wednesday: babies love books

    • Timely! I’ve watched my son’s friends over the years – some are readers, some are not. I think one of the key differences is the kids’ experiences of books when they were very small; families of readers tend to produce families of readers!
      The boy-child was a bit of an experiment in all sorts of ways, but definitely in literacy development His father and I made a conscious decision to introduce books and reading into his life almost from birth (not hard, as we’re both readers) with massive buy-in from his grandparents. Consequently he’s always been read to/owned books/visited libraries/encouraged to talk about books/etc. Result – he reads, constantly, voraciously and widely. A bit before he turned four he decided he “needed” to learn to read and simply told his pre-school teacher that’s what he wanted. She said ok, gave him some high-frequency word cards to learn with the promise that books would follow. They did within the week and he hasn’t looked back. Best of all, he writes; elaborate illustrated books when he was little and some fan fiction these days.
      I’m conscious that the “experiment” was easy for us – we like books, can afford to buy them, have time to read and our own literacy levels are high. It must be difficult for anyone without those resources to make reading part of their children’s lives.
      Enough of my rant! Look forward to reading your post.

  1. Excellent… love it Su!!! I actually have a photo somewhere of my eldest Grandson in his pram, aged about 5 months, and enthralled with the cloth book in his hands 🙂
    As a former Junior Primary/Infant school teacher, I can tell you what a shock it was to see how many children saw a book as kind of a “foreign object”. They needed to learn the basics of which way is up, turning the pages, differentiating between pictures and words… and left to right “eye tracking” especially. The same is true for objects such as paper and pencils… etc.
    All you say about your own boy is true… and it is indeed sad that children don’t all start school with the same advantages and that’s where talented, and committed teachers, make all the difference. My focus always was on individualised learning plans. Hard to do but most worthwhile… almost impossible nowadays with the nonsense of “standardised testing” here in Australia… but that’s another story.
    Wonderful your boy’s pre-school teacher rose to the challenge 🙂 … my youngest was actually a “spontaneous reader” and I was truly shocked when, before even starting school, he just started reading on his own… That topic is another whole different issue too… however, it’s hardly surprising that his Doctorate is in the area of Literature… 🙂 Incidentally I was a “mature age student” and only began training as a teacher after this youngest was born… enough from me. Thanks again… delightful pics which “warm the cockles of my heart”.

  2. Thanks Catherine. It is always lovely to see the absolute delight on small children’s faces when they have a book, or a story read to them.
    You are right about the impact of good teachers; I remember from my own school days one utterly dedicated, brilliant English teacher whose work is still having an impact on my life.
    New Zealand too has become obsessed with “testing” and educational bureaucracy, so it seems there is little time to actually teach – and certainly none to work one-on-one with those who need it. About half of our schools are actively rejecting the Government’s “National Standards” as unworkable, uninformative, and totally time-wasting.
    I used to help in the classroom when my son first started school and was astounded and horrified by the variability in children’s readiness for learning. They ranged from a few – like my son – who could read and write and were bored rigid with the tasks they were being set, to those who could complete tasks with a little bit of help – right through to children who barely knew how to hold a pencil – and as you say – regarded books as “foreign objects.”
    I found it really frustrating not knowing how best to help. Should I focus on one child in order to develop their basic skills or try to work with several so that they could complete and have the sense of satisfaction that would give them? I asked the classroom teacher (who, admittedly was very young) what she wanted me to do and she more or less told me to do what I liked. So unhelpful.
    The best thing I did for my son’s formal education was send him to a Montessori preschool. They were totally committed to each child’s individual learning so that when mine was ready to read, they were ready to help him. There were no rules about when kids “should” be ready! It was such a shock when he entered mainstream primary ed! He endured that until year 7, then we sent him to a private school which was great for a few years, but became quite authoritarian and punitive in their approach to the kids. It was as if they assumed all children were bad and likely to do terrible things, so they had to be strictly controlled – just in case!
    My son’s now doing A Levels at another private school which operates a bit more like tertiary study where the kids have to take responsibility for their learning. It’s working brilliantly for him, mainly because he is highly motivated.
    A few of my friends have recently trained as teachers once their kids are at school. I think “mature students” have so much more to offer and I think the children who will be in their classes are very fortunate.
    Thanks for all your comments. It’s great to “talk to you.”

    • Thank you; like most first/only children, his every moment as a baby was photographed. I love looking back at them and hope he will one day too.

    • Thank you. It is great to have so many photos of my son. I hope he will appreciate it when he’s older. I have so few photos of my childhood (and almost no older family photos). So frustrating! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

  3. What a lovely idea. Wish my parents had done that. They divorced after I’d left home and photos went all over the place. Actually a lot were slides, and I’m not sure what happened to those. 😦
    We started an album when I was pregnant, but I’ve never really kept up with it. Perhaps that’s a (huge) job for the next couple of years.

  4. What a wonderful discussion in the comments to go with this post! I wish my youngest was a reader, but he just never got into stories on a page. His stories are on the stage and in films.

    • Thanks. It does sound as though your son has found his niche in theatre though – and that is a very powerful form of story-telling. And much with a much longer history in human culture.

  5. I love reading and had learnt to read before starting school at 5. My daughter loves reading but my son is dyslexic which was hard at first. He started to like reading when he found the Percy Jackson books. They were written specifically with dyslexia in mind as the author’s son suffers from it. He still enjoys reading but does find it hard in English in the final year of school.
    Just a wonderful photo. 😀

    • I think it is wonderful that authors (and publishers) are recognising dyslexia and beginning to publish books written with attention to the needs of kids like your son. A friend writes specifically for reluctant readers (almost all boys) and it is a real art getting and holding their attention. Thanks for commenting; I love the way this thread has grown and given me so much from others’ sharing their stories.

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