Recently at a baby laptime and storytime experience I mentioned to another mom how I wished the storytime involved more books, and a mom told me how babies can't sit still that long. Um, well I kindly smiled but added that Phoenix loves to read books and hear the ABC's. Apart of me was astounded at her comment, does that mean she doesn't read to her baby? I was holding back my eyes from getting wide and eyebrows rising in an upset way!
It got me thinking that parents might not read to their babies because they THINK the baby just can't enjoy it and sit there quietly. Well I'm here to prove you wrong! It does involve your involvement but it is possible to have a special and meaningful, fun reading time with your baby.
Don't prevent your baby from enjoying books by thinking babies can't sit still. Babies CAN sit still and enjoy a book.. And if your baby is squirmy, that's okay, try to get them to look at the page, but even if they are not taking in the illustrations they can still hear your voice. Be patient and keep trying. It's all about HOW you read it to them and here are some tips.
First, I want to tell you that we don't pose Phoenix for storytime and then I take the photo of him to show you on this blog, no way, we get comfy and we present the book to him, tell him it's time to read an exciting book about ____and he chills and we read to him. Your baby can do it too!
While reading he leads the way with his eyes gazing on each page. We turn when he is ready for the next page, giving him time to see the illustrations. We simply give him the opportunity to enjoy a book and he absorbs it.
We place the book infront of Phoenix and sit aside him while we read, or hold the book in front of him and read the book (sometimes having to read it upside down), so Phoenix can get the full experience. Phoenix sits there and takes in the story, as we read to him we also share with him what the illustrations are doing and how they relate to the story. If Phoenix seems uninterested in storytime then we give him a little time to look toward the page of the book or we try again later.
While reading add other comments that relate to the page to make it exciting. In the book Bear Snores On the story involves many other animal characters, a mouse lighting twigs to make a "hot spark," a hare, a badger, a gopher, a mole, a wren and a raven, animals I also haven't seen or talked about in a long time which also make it a fun read for me too, but you can also make these animals more memorable by pointing to each animal and making sure your voice highlights the "new animal" entering the story with a "ooo" or "ahhh."
This is just what we do but I bet it will make your reading time with your baby more interactive and more fun for you too.
On page 1 the illustration shows us that it's snowing, so it's great to include while reading the story, "Look at the snow!" And then "Look at the bear in the cave." Repeating what the words on the page have just read, "In a cave in the woods, in his deep dark lair, through the long, cold winter, sleeps a great brown bear."
And when the hare and the mouse pop white corn and brew black tea you can always add to your reading, "Look there's the teapot, look there's the cup of black tea, look there's the popcorn."
And like Phoenix your baby will notice each detail in the book as he/she will begin to also notice the details of our beautiful world. :)
Cheers to Life Long Reading!