Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yea! 30 lbs of New Books

When I think about being young I thought it was strange to go to someone else's house and see only a handful of books. Our house seemed to be overflowing with books in every room. I just assumed everyone else lived like us with lots of books and a some TV time. (Unless your children were naughty, and your mom was named Kelly, and she cut the TV cord with a pair of scissors.) We were all encouraged to read and, as a result, all of us children developed a love for reading.

For a year before I was even pregnant with Hailey I was buying and stashing children's books left and right. Even on a budget we always make room for books. Hailey is at the point where she loves to climb on the recliner in her room and have us read to her. She likes to crawl into my bed and read while hiding under the covers. She likes to turn the pages and tell us what objects she can identify. Certain books she prefers for Steve to read to her because he uses specials voices that she loves. If I ask Hailey to pick out a story to read she usually brings me a huge stack of books instead of one, and that always makes me smile.

I make it a priority to read to her everyday. I believe this encourages her have a great imagination and curiosity about the world she lives in. Too many children are robbed of their childhoods as a result of too much TV and video games. From a young age Hailey showed us that, given the opportunity, she would love to be a full-time couch potato and watch movies all day long. That is a situation Steve and I continue to monitor at home.

I ordered this new activity kit which includes 167 stories, 34 nursery rhymes and fairy tales, some games, and musical CDs. I specifically chose this kit because it intertwines the material with religion (it is Bible based). I really like that it comes with little activities to go along with the reading. For example: after reading an illustrated story about Noah's Ark one of the few activities recommends putting a blanket over a table as a pretend ark and having the child bring toys that won't be left behind. For the story If You Give Mouse a Cookie, the activity is to make cookies and share them. Fun stuff.

I find that the preschool kits designed for children older than Hailey have a strong emphasis on moral and character building exercises, which cause the child to think about other people instead of themselves. Personally, I find that to be more valuable than sending Hailey to preschool to learn her ABCs. (I consider myself capable of teaching her those types of things.) Have you ever wondered what is the single best predictor of how a child will do over 12 years of school? There has been tons of research done on this subject. The results have been consistent for the last couple of decades. The answer is often overlooked because it is so simple. How much was your child read to prior to the first day of first grade? It's that simple. That's it. My own opinion of the preschools here in Los Angeles leaves a lot to be desired to say the least, but that is a subject for another day. When all is said and done I believe different things work well for different families. I think people should take the time to pursue things that are right for them as opposed to blindly following what society dictates they do. In that process I find that sometimes the road less traveled brings the greatest rewards. For now Hailey and I will both enjoy our exciting kit.