One of my favorite things to hear no matter what time of day is a little sing-songy voice saying “Caaat” or “Go gog go.” This is how my 30-month-old toddler asks me to read two of her favorite books to her, “The Cat in the Hat” and “Go Dog Go.” Since the Dr. Suess bookshelf is above the desk in the kitchen, I hear it often and smile every time (well almost every time, not so much when we’re trying to head out the door or cooking dinner).
As the mother of triplet toddlers, all with some measure of speech and language delays, I value reading to each of my little ones. I know how important reading time is. It’s a vital way of exploring language and connecting objects with words. One thing I’ve learned, though, is that I definitely cannot wait for my little girls to ask to be read to. In fact, for two of our triplets, that would be unthinkable. They struggle to sit still for the length of “Good Night Moon” or “Guess How Much I Love You” at bedtime. My job as mom includes almost forcing that moment, getting a book out, holding one of my girls and saying, “sit with me while Mommy reads.” Then I fight through the few moments of each girl’s actions that say, “I want to go, I want to run,” and I read a 1 to 2 minute book to my squirmy, squiggly girl.
Bobby Coles wrote in his article on Helium, “Reading children’s books is an important tool to help kids with speech delays. Rote reading helps a child to learn, over an amount of time, what words mean, and how they are properly spoken.” He also suggests constantly reading the same few books.
It’s not just speech-delayed children who benefit from regular reading of the few same books, though. You hear it on PBS, see it in articles all over the web, and in many parenting and education books: reading aloud to a child is an important foundation for learning as a whole. And the real key? It’s never, ever too early to start. Besides, it’s just plain fun to cuddle with your kids, right?
So don’t wait, pick up that little snugly infant and read, read, read!
Lisa Daniels-Roberts has written for a living for 15 years: as a journalist, advertising copywriter, marketing and fund raising consultant, and now a full-time product writer at an eCommerce website. A mother of 4 daughters, one teen and triplet toddlers, Lisa shares her parenting stories at The Tripped Up Life. Follow Lisa on Twitter.