Books abound in May. National Mother Goose Day is on May 1 and Children’s Book Week takes place May 2 – 8. Reading to children offers them – and you – many benefits. “Reading a book to your newborn is a one-on-one activity that you can really turn into a special time with your baby,” says Mary Ann Abrams, MD, Reach Out and Read’s Medical Director (reachoutandread.org). “It exposes the baby to the sound of your voice, which is soothing for him.” As children grow, reading will continue to be a nurturing activity for both of you, rather than a chore or a task.
Reading to young children not only reinforces a bond between them and you, but also reinforces learning. It’s no secret children imitate those around them. As you enjoy the benefits of reading with your child, they are learning from you. Children pick up on the functions of reading a book, such as simply turning pages, where the story begins, to read from left to right, as well as connecting pictures to words.
Additionally, while children listen to you read they learn how to form sounds and letters and begin to pick up on rhythm and tone, teaching them basic speech skills. Children learn long before they begin school. It’s important to keep learning fun while setting a solid learning foundation for future success.
Pick up a book, or three or four, to celebrate reading this month with your children. To get you started, here are a few reads from Scholastics’ 100 Greatest Books for Kids, ages 0 – 7:
- Good Night Moon, written Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd
- Where the Wild Things Are, written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
- Sylvia Long’s Mother Goose, written and illustrated by Sylvia Long
- Knuffle Bunny, written and illustrated by Mo Willems
- The Little Engine that Could, written by Watty Piper and illustrated by George and Doris Hauman
- Madeline, written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
- The Lion & the Mouse, written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney