The child can barely wait to get that book out of dad’s hands. She’s grabbing it, looking at the cover, fumbling to get it open. She is accidentally whacking dad in the face with the book as he juggles books and baby. As a dad myself, I can tell you that getting smacked in the face by your kid is a regular thing.
It’s adorable, frankly. And it is encouraging.
We hand out a lot of books to families in our “Story-Skilled Child” parenting workshops. Kids are usually not present at the workshops, However, sometimes they are there and that is okay. We do a lot of accidental babysitting and keep crayons and coloring pages in our kit. Our team normally doesn’t get to see the reaction to our books when the kids get a hold of them. But on this day, as we watch the father and toddler together, we know that these two books are going to a home full of language, to a family that reads together, with a parent that connects.
It doesn’t matter that the young child cannot actually read. It doesn’t matter that the toddler can’t understand the nuances of the words in the story. It’s not important that your child comprehend what is going on in the pictures.
What does matter is that you (parent, caregiver) read and communicate with your kids. Sometimes you are reading stories. Sometimes you will put the books down and tell stories.
Fill your home full of language. Let your children use those little fingers to grab big books and fumble with them.
As they say, “you got this.”
Read. Tell. Talk. Engage. Fill your home full of language. Watch this blog for a series of ways to help you do just that.
Sean Buvala is the primary presenter and creator of “The Story-Skilled Child” project and parent-involvement programming for Title 1 schools. The program is available for all schools in all neighborhoods. He is a storyteller with more than 30 years experience and the director of Storyteller.net. He and his wife Michelle have four young-adult children. He is the author of “Eleven Elegant Elephants: A Counting Book for the Small Child.”