Numerous studies show development of communication skills and vocabulary is enhanced, especially during the first three years of life, by hearing and seeing lots of words. The American Academy of Pediatrics made headlines in June by announcing its policy statement calling on doctors, during every office visit, to encourage parents to read aloud and talk about words and pictures often to young children.
Signing your child up for a library card is one of best ways to strengthen your commitment to reading aloud daily. September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, a national campaign of the American Library Association and public libraries across the country to ensure that every child has a library card.
As the children’s librarian at the Vinings Library of the Cobb County Public Library System, Shannon Tyner knows the value of simply reading, putting words in the air, to her young library patrons and her son, Luke:
As a children’s librarian, I’m well aware of the link between early literacy and brain development. I’ve read the articles and seen the studies that prove that the years before preschool are the best time to introduce children to books and that this will in turn create a support for reading, writing, and language skills. I take this knowledge and, to the best of my ability, use it to create story times that are educational, engaging, and most importantly to me, fun. The babies and toddlers that attend my story times don’t always sit still and listen to me with rapt attention. They’re not always quiet, and they’re not always having a good day. But we sing and dance, read books and poems and nursery rhymes, dance with bubbles, get loud and silly, and have fun. And all the time they’re learning, growing, and developing. Do the babies and toddlers realize that they’re learning, growing, and developing? No. But when I have a room full of kids who are excited to see what books I’m going to share with them today, I know I’ve done my job.
As a new mom, I still know about all of these things, but I don’t read to my son specifically to enhance his brain development. I read to him because I want him to love reading as much as I do. When he was born, and we were home together all the time (what a blessing!), I often read to him out loud the novels I was reading for myself. When I went back to work, I started checking out books specifically for him. And now, at nine months old, I can’t hold a book without him zeroing in on it. It doesn’t matter to him that the book I’m holding is the latest Deborah Harkness novel. He wants it. Or at least presumes that I should be reading it to him. I know he doesn’t comprehend the stories that I read to him, but I also know that the act of reading the stories fascinates him. He watches me and watches the book. He smiles and giggles when I use funny voices or read pages with particular zeal. He “helps me” turn the pages. And I know that as he gets older, he’ll continue to love his time with books.
September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Get a Cobb County Public Library System library card! With the Cobb library card, you get to checkout up to 50 books and free access to Digital Downloads: eBooks, eAudiobooks, complete digital magazines and more and the E-Library: Databases, Research Tools, and other resources. To learn more about what your libraries offer, visit any of the 16 CCPLS locations or www.cobbcat.org.