MMM: Raising a Baby Bookworm


Once upon a time you were a child. What made you happy? What made you thrive? Was it playing with your friends and siblings? Riding your bicycle around the neighborhood in the summertime, followed by an ice cream cone? Celebrating your birthday? The list could be endless.  For me the early memories often include story time. You’re probably all thinking that sounds a little nerdy, right?  Well, maybe I was on the studious side, but that’s not my point. What I’m trying to get at is that reading at a young age leaves an imprint. It sets the foundation for so many things. As a teacher, and avid reader myself, I’ve always been an advocate for reading to children. And now that I’m a mother, I continue encouraging other parents to read to their children as I do. 

Using personal experience, as well as what I learned in graduate school about literacy, I know that you can never start introducing books too young. When Violeta was 2 months old, I remember reading to her and someone making a comment about how she was too little to understand. Clearly they missed the point. I wasn’t reading Shakespeare for God’s sake. In fact, I don’t even think I was doing much reading at all. I was simply looking at pictures in the book and talking about them. It’s all about adaptation. We even made it a habit to read the weekly circulars with her. Why, you ask? So she could compare grocery prices and do our shopping. No, just kidding. I think the answer will be clear once I share the positive aspects of reading with/to a child: 
  • Promotes listening skills
  • Develops vocabulary
  • Helps attention span & memory (reading the same books over & over)
  • Stimulates the imagination and senses
  • Helps teach concepts about the world around us
  • Teaches language (new words, intonation, etc)
  • Encourages reading and the enjoyment of reading
  • Gives parents and children a chance to cuddle and bond

Violeta (2 months old) & Eduardo checking out the weekly deals at Carrefour


Violeta (10 months old) and I enjoying an afternoon book


At only 10 months old, Violeta has really grown to love story time. We read every night before bed and she’s come to expect this as part of the evening routine. I really enjoy it too, although I’d be lying if I said that I liked reading the same books over and over again. After all, how excited could I get over the hungry little caterpillar turning into a butterfly? I remember back about 7 months ago when all she would do was chew on the books. We could barely get through 2 or 3 pages because of her attention span. Now she listens attentively, turning the pages as we go along. Throughout the stories I’ve made the same commentary so many times that now when I ask something like, “where’s the bird?” she correctly points to it. It’s really cute, and shows how well she understands now. 

The great thing about books is that you don’t have to go broke buying them. I recommend buying some classics and/or a few of your personal favorites. Don’t forget to take advantage of your local library. That’s what they’re there for. We read mostly in English, but we have a few Spanish books I’ve picked up here as well. Also, if you remember from my previous toy post, you could do a book swap. Exchange books with a friend for a month or so and become your own library so to speak. Personally, I still have many of my childhood books in boxes at my mother’s house. They’ve slowly made their way to Madrid, but they’re getting here.

So curl up with a baby and a book (and a blanket if you wish) and get reading. 
And they lived happily ever after.

~Nicole & Violeta
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