So what do an imaginative pig, a graceful ballerina, and a brave mouse all have in common? Well, nothing really, other than the fact that they are all characters in books that my daughter and I recently borrowed from the library. A trip to the library has become somewhat of a weekly routine for us. Not that we didn’t read many books before – because reading is really big in our house. There are many books we’ve read together about a hundred times (ok slight exaggeration there, but it sure felt that way sometimes). But there’s just something about walking into a library full of books just waiting to be read.
Our local library has a terrific children’s department where kids are free to be kids and I don’t have to worry if my daughter speaks louder than a whisper. I honestly can’t tell you who’s more excited about finding new books to read when we walk through those doors and begin rummaging through the bins and shelves. This past week something very exciting happened. My daughter received her very first library card. We celebrated by selecting an entire tote bag full of books to bring home and read. We’re talking a good twenty-five books or so. I felt bad for the librarian who had to check them all out for us.
My two-year-old has quite a love for books as well. I’m convinced that one of the absolute cutest things ever is watching her read out loud. Of course I don’t understand half of what she’s saying because it’s in her own little language but that’s not the point. She’s learning how to read by turning the pages and mimicking how I talk when I read the words on those pages. There are also times when she hands me a book to read it to her and climbs onto my lap to listen. Well, that is until she decides after 2 pages she’s had enough and can’t be bothered with sitting for the rest of the story.
I’ll admit there are times I just wish she’d sit put long enough for me to finish reading the darn thing. I pride myself on my expressive intonation and knack for creating some pretty entertaining character voices. But then I think of the story my mother in law shared with me about my husband when he was young. He was an active little boy and couldn’t be bothered sitting on his mother’s lap for a story. He would play with his trucks on the living room floor while his mom read to his older sister. She assumed he wasn’t paying any attention to the books she was reading. That is, until one day when she read a page of a book that mentioned a father who was brave. All of a sudden he said, “My father’s brave!” He had in fact been listening all along. Proof that even when you think you’re child isn’t paying attention or listening, they just might surprise you.
Books provide our children with life lessons, positive role models, adventures. They also foster imagination, creativity, a love of learning and help expand their vocabulary. I’m always amazed when my daughter picks up on a new word in a book and then uses it during a conversation, in context. Pretty much blows my mind. Their young brains are absolute sponges I tell you!
Now, if you’ll please excuse me. I have a date with my daughters involving a book about salsa dancing chickens. Happy reading!