Scholastic provided samples to facilitate The Story Starts Here conversation; however, all opinions are mine.
When should you start reading to your kids? I believe from the moment they’re born. I read to my children while I nursed them. Sure, I was reading the newspaper or a magazine, but I read it the same way I would have a children’s book. The cadence and tone of my voice soothed them and kept them entertained and I got some much-needed mommy time reading. It was perfect.
As they got to be about 6 months old I started reading them books written for infants. They’re created with specific words and repetitions to help babies begin the process of putting language together. I still snuck in a magazine or two, but it was more rewarding to watch their excitement at the sound of the words. It wasn’t long before they understood the rhythm of a book – the anticipation of opening it, the turning of the pages, the excitement at the end of each page, and the conclusion. Soon they were trying to help turn the pages and babbling as if to mimic the words
When they were old enough, we gave them fabric books. It let them have control though most of the time they just ended up in their mouths. But it made books a part of their play. When it came time for potty training, books were used as a prompt – stories about other toddlers giving up diapers were frequently read. Plus we read while on their little potty chairs to keep them in place until Mother Nature came through and then as a reward.
Books were used as rewards in our home throughout Elementary School. We kept a closet full of them to present whenever the Tooth Fairy needed something to leave under their pillow (with cash tucked inside like a bookmark), for when they did well at school, or they had a great day at daycare. We also made a trip every year to their school’s Scholastic Book Fair where they purchased books for themselves and their classrooms.
The Story Starts Here: Why Books Should be on Your Christmas Shopping List
I’ve often said the only gifts I never regretted buying my kids were books. They sparked their imagination, gave them great vocabularies, provided insight into places and people they’d likely never encounter in real life, and gave them confidence that they could entertain themselves without sitting in front of a TV or video game. They also allowed us to make so many great family memories. We had favorite books that we reread hundreds of times. We read on vacation, on a boat, in the back of the car, on a plane – so very many fun places.
The Story Starts Here: Now That They’re Adults
My boys still love to read. One refuses to read electronic books, he prefers hardbacks. He loves biographies and tales from around the world; it’s no wonder he’s a world traveler. The other listens to audiobooks while he works and he’s a science fiction fan who rarely strays from the genre. It makes me smile to think that their lifelong love of reading started in a creaky wooden rocking chair as I nursed them.
That was so many years ago, and we’re about to start over with our granddaughter! She’s due in March, and we’ve already filled the playroom we’re creating for her in our house with books. She’s got her own rocking chair along with lots of plush friends to read with. We’ve also added a plush 2-seater chair so grandma and baby can spend many hours looking through picture books and exploring the world.
The Story Starts Here: My Tips for Raising a Reader
My suggestion for getting your kids to read? Start at birth, read to them every day, and let them see you read too. Even if your kids are older, it’s never too late to get them fascinated in books. Talk to them about what they’re interested in. Go to the library and ask for help in finding a book series he/she might be interested in. Give books as a reward and as treats. Say “yes” at the checkout stand to books and whenever possible on trips. Buy books about the area you’re visiting, his/her favorite sports team, a hobby, etc. Tailoring the content to their interests is key in getting them to enjoy reading.
Need help in choosing a book for your child? Check out The Story Starts Here website where you can find book news and events, downloadable activities, author and illustration bios, Q&A’s, plus fun facts about Scholastic talent.
The Story Starts Here: Books to Spark the Imagination from Birth
Here are the books we received to start our story with our granddaughter:
Friendshape by Amy Krause Rosenthal (illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld)
If You’re A Robot And You Know It by David A. Carter (lyrics by Musical Robot)
Perfect for ages 3-5 / If You’re a Robot and You Know It Activity Sheets
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H4VtpqusYM
Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? by Stephen Savage
Perfect for ages 3-5 / Where’s Walrus? and Penguin? Activity Sheets
Watch the trailer: https://youtu.be/n0vdbXWHeu0