Part 2 of 3 for a series of posts in the Writing 101 course.

When I wrote about the lost art of read-aloud, I realized I wasn’t just writing about something lost.  Through the revival of storytime in our house, I’ve also found and gained so much.  And my toddler, too, has found a love of books early on–one that I’m so excited to nurture as he grows.

In part 1 of this series, I explored the lost-and-found experience of reading books from my own childhood with my toddler.  (We are still reading PJ Funnybunny at least three times a week, by the way.) For part 2, I thought I’d share some of the small joys I’ve found in our time spent reading together.

Part 2: Finding a Love of Reading

A couple of months ago, my wife texted me this photo of our kid reading in the car on the way to school:


A scene like this in the back seat isn’t a rare occurrence, either.  Yesterday, after I picked Little Man up at school, we went to our favorite park to enjoy the spring weather.  When it was finally time to go (and he was thoroughly filthy) he pitched a typical toddler tantrum as I buckled him in–until I handed him a book.  (“How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday?” if you’re curious.)  I am telling you, it was magical.  That little board book silenced the screaming child better than a pacifier.  The only downside was that he then demanded I read it to him and drive the car at the same time.

I love watching my little boy with books.  During the long, snowy winter that New England was kind enough to bestow upon us, we visited Barnes and Noble a LOT.  Sure, they have a train table that he loves as well, but he got just as much joy this winter from sitting on the middle of the floor in the children’s section, reading a few books together, then picking out a new one to take home.

Even better?  Our boy has recently started reading to himself!  No, I’m not making one of those “my baby can read” unrealistic brags–I know it’s just that he has his favorite stories memorized.  But that, too, is a part of early literacy.  It’s such a joy watching him develop this and other early literacy skills, too, such as:

  1. Requesting specific books by title.
  2. Recognizing letters.
  3. Identifying a particular book as “my favorite!”
  4. Explaining what’s happening in illustrations.
  5. Recalling a story read later on, and making text-to-self or text-to-text connections.

Yep, my toddler can do all that.  He’s getting better at it all the time.  And while I’ve maybe got a little bit of mommy-brag going on here, my kid isn’t unusual.  Any child who has regular exposure to books and text and read-alouds will start to develop these skills.

So, read to your kids.  It’s fun.  And even if it doesn’t seem like it, I promise you, they’ll be learning.

What’s amazed you most about watching your own children’s early literacy development?