Literacy may be my greatest passion in life. This probably stems from being an only child living in the middle of nowhere during my middle and high school years. Consequently now that I have children of my own I am rather hot to trot to introduce the joys of reading. I don’t have to try too hard with my first born. We average about 15 books a day and she never stops asking for more. As she gets older she is more able to tell us who her favorite characters are (Arthur, Fancy Nancy, The Berenstain Bears, Amelia Bedelia), what subjects she is interested in and so on. Trips to the library are therefore far more engaging for all of us than they used to be.
Our local library has been doing a summer reading program which offers an online spreadsheet to keep track of individual books. They have also made up a sort of gamesheet with prizes you can collect when you visit the library but for my daughter this is about the last thing I want to capitalize on. She already loves reading for reading’s sake. No way do I want her to think we only read so that we can get prizes. However the spreadsheet has been really fun for all of us. I’m especially excited to think about her as a 10 year old looking back at the books she was interested in at the age of 2. I hope she is impressed with herself. I am.
There are some great children’s books out there but there are also a lot of “fillers”. It could be easy to get bogged down by all the books that don’t seem to have much of a point. I’m hoping to minimize the time we spend on those- why bother with them when there are books like Monkey with a Toolbelt and the Noisy Problem by Chris Monroe and When Dads Don’t Grow Up by Marjorie Blaine Parker. (This week’s favorites).
Right now my daughter thinks books are the best entertainment tool there is. She can’t wait to be able to read them independently so we’ve started using our portable chalkboard (literally a board painted with chalkboard paint) to work on letter sounds. Of course first we started with the alphabet, and then the alphabet in lowercase but now she is working on sounds and short words- it’s awesome to watch. Chalkboard paint is rather expensive- I think we paid $16 for a quart of it at Lowe’s. However if you don’t already have a chalkboard to work on early reading skills- think about it. Maybe split the cost of the paint with another parent and make a couple. We absolutely love ours.