I’m proud to say that Light is advanced (overall) compared to others of her age. Naks! Don’t we all say that when it comes to our kids? 😀 And I think her love for reading had a lot to do about it. I wasn’t really hoping or aiming to raise a reading child. I just did everything in moderation. Read to her a few times, played with her every day, did developmental activities once in a while. There was a time I was worried that she didn’t have one particular thing that she really liked the most. The Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none thing. For example her cousin liked basketball and would bring a ball everywhere. But then I noticed that there is something that she likes consistently, and it became more evident as she grew older. That’s her love for reading.
She was flipping the pages as early as she was 1 and a half years old. By two she has memorised some of her favourite books and would sometimes blabber the words as if she was really reading them. By three, she could recognize the letters/words, and would bring a book anywhere. I would often tell her to read the book on her own coz she already knows it! And the alphabet? She learned that when she was two!
So how did I accidentally made Light enjoy reading so much? I just did these five things to her.
Read to her early
It could feel weird reading to your unborn child. But I guess it helped me get ready for a lot of reading ahead. Especially reading baby books and making silly voices to make it more entertaining for little ones. I remember reading to Light when I was in my third trimester with her. And I read aloud. I read baby books, books about babies, novels, reread Harry Potter, and just about anything I fancied at that time.
Bring her to bookstores/libraries
I would love to bring Light to a nice library. Perhaps someday when she’s a bit older. For now, we bring her to bookstores. And we would rather buy her books than toys or clothes. When she’s inside a bookstore, she’ll immediately look for what seems nice to her or what looks familiar and tells us she’ll get them because she doesn’t have them yet. She’ll say it, not ask if she can get them haha. She’s not like that inside toy stores.
Have a routine for reading
We didn’t really set any routine for reading. It just sort of ended that way. We usually read before she takes her nap and at night during bed time. One book for nap time. Two books at bedtime. Writing about it now, I feel a little guilty putting a limit to how many books we read or sometimes I feel like it seems to her that we can only read to her during those times. But, oh my goodness, you’ll know what it’s like reading to a child when you become a parent. You’ll fall alseep faster than her, or you’ll be too sleepy and lazy after that you wouldn’t be able to do anything else (or in my case, have my me time hehe).
But I try to remember that it’s important to her and that reading to her will be one of the things I would soon not be doing anymore. More importantly, it’s a bonding moment for me and Light so I should cherish it and even do it more often.
I was answering a semi important email when Light came up to me with a book. She wanted me to read to her. I told her to wait and I’ll just finish what I was doing. But she wouldn’t hear it. She started making tantrums. I ignored her. Then she went to a corner and started to pee. I was potty training her so she was wearing only her underwear. She knew it but did it anyway. Probably to get my attention. Then she started to cry like she knew she did something bad, or something that will get her scolded. I was angry at first but I didn’t scold her anymore. I just “reminded” her. After cleaning up, I put her to bed and told her to wait (I wanted her to learn to be patient), and finished my email. When I finished, I looked up at her, ready to read to her. I saw her like this. She fell asleep waiting for me. It was just a few minutes and she was probably already sleepy. But still. ? ?
Organize her books
Make space for her books. When I noticed that her books were growing more, I had a customized book/toy shelf made for her. I swear it’s a must when you have a child at home. It became easier for her to browse though her books and get what she feels like reading at the moment. And She has a space for her books in every room, like her playroom, our bedroom where we spend most of our time, and in the living room.
It can be difficult for a toddler so I always remind her to take care of her books and return them to their proper places when she’s done reading them. So having a book shelf is really a must in order for her to do it on her own.
Take your sweet time reading
I don’t force Light to read, nor to learn to read. And although I tell her that there’s a time for everything, I read to her when she asks for it. And Sometimes I teach and let her practice reading. All on her own pace.
It can be a struggle saying yes to her all the time when she asks for me to read to her. Especially now that my hands are full with a new baby. Sometimes, I would read to her too fast or I would skip a few lines just to get it over with. G-U-I-L-T-Y. Bad mom here. I’d like to think it’s okay. You can give yourself a little time out. But definitely have time for a good reading. I always forget this but I realized that what Light just wants, really, is your full attention and time to her. Give her that and she’ll be happy. 🙂