Thursday, September 9, 2010

Four Month Old Teaches Her Grandmother a Few Tricks

We have a new baby girl in the family  She is rapidly approaching five months.  Five whole months.  Seems like yesterday she made her appearance in this world.  We wondered what was taking her so long.  She had her own plans.  Given the lovely Italian name Lillianna months earlier, she waited for her Italian paternal great grandfather's birthday to share.  He would have been thrilled.  She has the same twinkle in her eye as he did in his.  I think he planted a kiss on her head before she headed this way.

So what did this little sprite teach me, a veteran reading consultant/tutor?  That four month olds pay attention.
Very close attention.  To stories being read.  Yes, it stunned me as well.  This revelation came about while I was reading "Pirates Don't Change Diapers" to her four year old sister.  The baby was close by. And then I caught sight of her little face lit up like a Christmas tree and zeroed in focus.  Could it be?  Was she really?  Oh, yes indeed.  This little itty bitty baby was enthralled.  Completely and utterly enthralled with the pictures and my very bad pirate accent.   It caught me by total surprise. It shouldn't have.

Think about it.  Babies are focused learning language.  Completely and utterly consumed by it.  In two to three years time they command language.  So why wouldn't they like to hear and see a bright, vivid story book?

Lesson learned, start reading to children when they are born.  Or before they are born.  Especially sing song
nursery rhymes.  But any book with rhyming text is good.  It sets in motion all good things for phonemic awareness, which is, the root of reading.

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