Toddlers, Children and the Love of Books
B.T. has been doing the cutest thing, lately, with books. The first time I thought maybe it was a fluke. But he’s done it several times, now – so I know this is for real. It warms my heart to know that he is developing a love of literature. But I digress. Let me tell you the story…
It started one evening when I was reading a story to him. Dear Wife and I have read to B.T. almost every night before bed for most of his life. Some of his books are of the “Touch & Feel” variety, which include swatches of furry or fuzzy or rough or other textured things for the baby or toddler to feel. Consequently, B.T. has grown to like touching books. So often, after I read a story to him, I will hand him the book to handle and play with as he wants. Usually I will then pick up another book and start reading that one to him. On this particular night, I didn’t have a second book immediately at hand.
This particular night, after I had finished getting B.T. ready for bed, I sat down in the rocking chair by the book case, B.T. in my lap, and B.T. leaned over to gaze longingly at the books in the book case. He’d been doing this many evenings when getting ready for bed, waiting expectantly for his book. Sometimes he even reaches for the bookshelf. So, I pulled one of the shelf and read it to him. After finishing I handed the book to him.
He played with it for a moment, and then he did something he’d never done before. He grabbed a finger of my hand (which is usually a precursor to him deciding to get up and walk), pulled it over, and pushed the book into my hand, saying “Da!”
It soon dawned on me what he wanted. He wants me to read the story to him!
Until that moment, I’d always assumed story time was just a ritual we went through at nights. It was part of the process, but I didn’t think it had had much of an impact on him, yet. But now I know – he actually enjoys story time, and likes when we read stories to him.
He’s done this several times, since – both to me and to Dear Wife. We’ve got a small pile of books on the ottoman on the living room, and one day this week dear little B.T. pulled himself up on it, pulled off a book, then scooted over to me, crawled into my lap, and pressed the book into my hand, saying “Da!” once again. I read a couple pages to him before he got squirmy. I thought he wanted me to read the book, I wondered to myself. But he took the book, scooted over to where Dear Wife sat nearby, crawled into her lap, pressed the book into her hand, and said “Da!”
Ha! Reading is a game to this kid. It’s something fun. He gets that. And he loves the opportunity to sit in mommy or daddy’s lap and have stories read to him – not that he’s overly concerned with going from the beginning to the ending, so much. It’s the experience of reading that he seems most to enjoy.
He’s also recently taken to pointing at things on the page. I suppose he picked this one up from his mommy and daddy – we often point to pictures of things mentioned in the stories as we’re reading. (Of course, at this age, almost every book is a picture book.) So if the story talks about a lion, we point to the lion. If it mentions the moon, we point to the moon.
Cows have become a particular favorite. Whenever there is a picture of a cow, Dear Wife points to it and says “Cows go moooooo!” And now B.T. responds “mmmmmmm“.
I really believe this will flower into a true love of reading as B.T. grows older. I can’t wait for when he starts reading for himself – and when he wants to return the favor and read to Dear Wife and I!