By Downtown Dad
In this high-tech world we live in, the concept of reading is changing fast. Instead of letters, we have email and text messages. Electronic devices that download stories and make them readable on a flat screen are fast replacing books. Newspapers and magazines are online, and there are limitless materials in the blogosphere, just like what you’re reading now.
Still, one of my favorite things to do is pick up a book, hold it in my hands, turn the pages and indulge in the world of reading. The joy of reading for me means escaping into a great piece of fiction or reading up on some non-fiction to learn something new. Reading can be a solitary experience, and this “quiet time” can be very relaxing. Reading can also be a group experience if done aloud.
Some of my favorite early childhood memories include times when our teacher would take out a Dr. Seuss book and we would all gather around, sitting cross-legged on the floor, eager to see the pictures and hear the words that we were just learning to decipher. The teacher would make different voices for the different characters, and we were in heaven listening to her. Green Eggs and Ham was my favorite.
Now that my son is 1, I’m eager to share my love of reading with him. Even though he’s still years away from being able to read, we’ve already stockpiled a respectable little library of children’s books for him.
One Saturday a few months ago, Louie and I were hanging out on the couch, relaxing. I reached over and grabbed one of his books to try reading to him. We looked at the cover and I pointed out the different animals and colors. Then I opened to the first page and started reading. He looked at me and then back at the book. He reached out and touched the page, and we were sharing our first reading experience together. It was a magic moment.
And then it all turned to chaos as he kept reaching for the page, grabbed it, tore some out and started eating it! I recoiled in horror, which then turned to laughter. I hope this means he’ll be a voracious reader some day with a big appetite for good literature (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
* * *
This month, we celebrate early reading and want to encourage parents and caregivers to Read Early, Read Aloud with babies, toddlers and preschoolers! You can learn more about Read Early, Read Aloud, including age-appropriate book suggestions, tips for reading with young kids, an online contest and, soon, local reading events, at the Read Early, Read Aloud page.