When I brought my oldest son at two-years old for his well-child checkup, the new nurse at our pediatrician’s office was amazed at his language development. He was chatting with her about the wall that was painted with The Cat in the Hat characters. She seemed a bit confused for a second, “He’s two, right?” She pulled up his record on her computer to verify. I laughed and assured her that he was definitely two years old despite his height and his growing vocabulary.
“I read to him.” I shrugged, trying to explain. “And I’m a word person. Maybe he’s inherited my genes. Or maybe he’s simply learned all these words from books.” I grinned proudly at my son who had walked over to the book basket and pulled out a book to read.
“Look, Mommy! It’s a chimpanzee!”
Not a monkey. A chimpanzee. And the reason he knew that was because of a book we’d read a few nights earlier.
From the time my boys were born, we have had a routine at night that included Mommy reading the Bible or a bedtime story to them. When my oldest son turned two, I started telling him make-believe stories at bedtime, and when he turned three, he began telling them to us. At three, he started learning letter sounds, and by four he was reading the Dr. Seuss books that I’d read to him so many nights before. Now he is almost finished with his first year of kindergarten, and he’s a very eager reader. He loves to read to his younger brother, and there’s a sweet pleasure that comes with listening to him read aloud.
As a teacher and a mother, I cannot stress enough the importance of reading to your children—of telling stories in the dark by flashlight or simply listening as they tell you stories–even those that drag on and on and on. These types of activities will ignite their imaginations and hopefully spark a love of learning that will continue throughout their lives.
Not to mention, there’s nothing like being snuggled up under the covers with a good book.
These are the memories your children will hold dear– a legacy that you will pass on to future generations. A friend of mine still reads with her high-school aged son every so often. She’s read to him since he was a young child, and he’s an avid reader still. This just goes to show that it’s never too early or too late to start reading to your child. By doing so, you will open up pages of possibilities.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a book!
Endless adventures await.