Baby Steps. Reading Books.

Photo by Esha Samajpati © All rights reserved

Well, January’s been awfully quiet and cold and boring. Hoping to have more fun things to report in February, what with a trip being planned and all. It’s a weekend birthday getaway nonetheless. Also, there’s a trip to India in the near future, and yes, hikes and such in summer. So let’s stay put and bear with the dry spell, shall we?

Meanwhile I have been busy being a parent, and while there are the usual milestones of walking and talking, what has intrigued me most is how a child’s relationship with the written word continues to evolve over the months. Today morning my son who is all of 2 and 1/4th read the word “Cheerios” and then proceeded to read “Smile” on the back of the cereal box (with a little help from me of course). Wow, and to think that just few months back, he was chewing on said box, and any and every book he could reach.

So, the transition has been something like this.

Newborn – Blank stare. And off to sleep.

3 months – Try and eat the books, and not just the cloth ones. Board books are welcome too. Also, smile at no word in particular. Just because.

6 months – Gnaw, try and tear the page with bare hands, drool all over it. Repeat. Occasionally smile at a funny word.

At our house, the books that happened to be on daily rotation were the Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry, I’m Not Sleepy by Jonathan Allen, and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr.Seuss.

12 months – Sit through an entire book. Begin to comprehend the story. Get books for you to read to him/her. Has a favorite story.

Our’s was about a rambunctious baby wombat who spends the day frolicking with his friends and then when night falls, he cuddles up with his mommy and goes to sleep. Aw.

Another book which deserves special mention is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. It’s gorgeous, and it’s a family favorite. My son can recite it in his sleep. So can we.

18 months – Now is when things get super interesting. He gets the story in its entirety. So he will try to imitate some of the actions depicted in the book…repeat words…even say them before you do because he knows the story by heart. He will laugh out loud at the right moment…he knows your reading style…he knows when to turn the page…he knows when to touch his tummy because the book tells him to.

Story-time just got more interactive. He may even begin to scribble his thoughts over the printed page. (Thank you, Crayola, for washable colors.)

2 years – He jumps in with his own interpretation of the pictures. And more often than not, he prefers his version of the story. Also, he picks up a book and pretend-reads it.

And when he does that, I listen. Intently. For that’s a good story too!