Reading is a complex beast. It can be broken down into many categories including, but not limited to, comprehension, acquisition, phonics, and vocabulary. With Oster being 10 months old I am realistic that tackling the layers of reading now is quite impossible. However, I do know that exposing him to letters and reading materials (board books, regular books, flash cards, and periodicals) will help him to develop his love for reading.
When I was pregnant, one of my friends and colleagues told me to read aloud to the baby as early as possible and talk as much as I can so that he could hear the sounds of my voice. As you know new parents get all kinds of unsolicited advice; this piece, however, I was glad to receive.
I started reading to Oster 2 weeks after he was born. I know a lot of people say to start reading in utero. I didn’t. Not for any reason other than I taught all day and when I came home I was too exhausted to read aloud after talking for 8 hours at school.
At first, reading took place during our nursing sessions. This kid ate so much that most of my day was dedicated to feeding him. I took advantage of this time to pull out his books and read aloud from them. When he finished eating, we sat together and I showed him the book and pointed to the pictures I was talking about. Did I have his attention all of the time? No. But I continued on this path so he could get used to the books.
I carried his books with him everywhere. He had them to hold onto in the car, in his stroller, and to read during tummy time. When I cuddled with him in the baby carrier, I would walk around the house and read magazines, showing him the bright colors.
Around 3 months he began to point to the page indicating for us to turn it and at 5 months he started turning pages himself. If his reading was anything other than a board book, the pages were demolished. I have taped and re-taped so many of his books that they look like they have been through the wash. When he started eating in his high chair, I read the newspaper to him and some books that have been on my reading list.
Just recently he has been pointing to the text and pictures and shouting out babbles. My heart melts every time he looks up from his book to share with me what he has discovered.