Today we’re going to talk about books and reading in honor of Children’s Picture Book Day on 3/28. Most kids LOVE to read…right? Well…there’s always an exception to that rule.  And I, ladies and gentleman, am that exception.

My mother was studying to obtain her master’s degree in special education when my sister was born.  My sister is 2 ½ years older than I am.  Even though my mom was super young she was very knowledgeable about child development and child education.  So when little Lisa came around and WOULD NOT sit on mommy’s lap to have a book read to her, and WAS NOT interested in books AT ALL, my mom thought there may be a problem.  She even asked my pediatrician if I needed to have some sort of developmental testing done when I was 2 because I just had ZERO interest in books.

Spoiler alert…I turned out ok.  I just wasn’t into books.  I didn’t like sitting and reading.  I had many more important things to do like running and jumping and creating my own stories without the need of a book.

My child is the exact opposite.  Starting at around 18 months I began to place some books in her crib with her at nap time.  We don’t call it ‘nap time’, rather we call it ‘rest or quiet time’.  My daughter will sit in her crib for 10 minutes straight and look through her books.  Sometimes they are upside down, but it doesn’t matter.  She turns the pages, lifts the flaps of the peek-a-boo books and looks at all the pictures.  Now that she is talking a bit more sometimes she names the items she sees in the books.

It is really amazing.  Or at least I think it’s amazing because she cannot get enough of books.  The minute we walk in to her room she goes right over to the book shelf, says “book” and pulls out a book she wants you to read to her.  We typically read the same book 5-7 times…she loves the pictures, she loves the anticipation of what’s coming and she loves snuggling on the lap of whomever is reading to her.

And I love watching her take it all in.  It’s amazing how the anticipation has grown over the months of reading the same books.  Some of our favorite books are Karen Katz’s lift-the-flap books such as Where is Baby’s Bellybutton . My daughter actually learned where her elbow is from this book.  At 18 months she was walking around sticking out her elbow and saying “elbow”.

Reading aloud to your child not only stimulates language and cognitive development but it also works on important skills such as engaging in a task from start to finish. When you sit down to read that book, make sure you read from the beginning all the way through to the end.  This small follow through actually begins to teach your child about the importance of completing a task.

Reading to your baby also works on their attention to task by encouraging them to remain engaged in the activity until the end. ‘Lift-the-flap’ books like the ones I mentioned above are great for keeping your child engaged.  You read a little and then they help lift the flap to find out what the outcome is. Engaging in these tasks also helps your child develop their fine motor skills. Board books in general help children work on their fine motor skills by teaching kids to turn the page.

Board books are great.  They’re great for bonding, they’re great for learning, and they are just overall great.  And, parents, because your child doesn’t know how to read yet, you can even make up a new story if you get tired of the original one.  I won’t tell 🙂