Raising a Reader

I love books! 🙂  I hope River grows up to be a reader, so I’m building his library as early as now.

There are children’s classic books that are hard to come by, and I would grab the chance to buy them at at least 30% the original price when available, pre-loved and in very good condition.  Some I bought are brand new, factory overruns, and in perfectly good condition.  Again, 30% or sometimes, even half the price or more of those brand new books sold in bookstores.   I used to be a “Book Sale” junkie back when I was a preschool teacher.  (Book Sale is a second hand book store in Manila.)  I’m glad that there are online shops selling pre-loved books now, so I don’t have to rummage through old books 🙂

My favorite online stores (so far) on Instagram are Ohbabyph, selling all brand new books  (factory overruns that is why the prices are low) and other children’s toys, and HappyTreePh (some brand new, some preloved).   They have Facebook accounts too.   There are other sites but I haven’t had a chance to buy from them because the books I like are already not available.  There’s one I discovered recently, Bookeryforkidsandmums_ph.  It’s on Instagram and FB also.

Latest loot from Bookery for Kids and Mums – highly recommended books!

Bought the book “Dear Zoo” as recommended by one of the websites on reading that I encountered, and it turned out to be a fun book for young children! Love “lift the flap” types of books 🙂  It is preloved, yet in very good condition – almost brand new!  Bought it for 140 pesos.

(The toy puppy in the photo a prize I got for joining those Instagram contests I posted before.  I finally won! )

According to an article from Parenting.com, “Age-by-Age Guide to Reading to Your Baby,

Reading is an addiction that parents should encourage well before their baby’s first birthday…When you read to children, they’re getting your full attention, and that’s what they just love. Nothing — no TV show or toy — is better than that.

Reading to babies is also a great way to immerse them in the sounds and rhythms of speech, which is crucial for language development.

Reading to your child starts from birth!  It’s not about comprehension, but about letting the infant hear the tone of your voice and spending time with you.

Birth to 6 months: Since an infant’s vision is still developing, choose books with little or no text and big, high-contrast pictures. Also consider books with interactive stuff, such as puppets, mirrors, or peepholes, recommends Pamela High, MD, author of the Brown University reading study and a professor of pediatrics there. The more ways you both have to enjoy a book, the better. If you’d like, read to your baby from grown-up books or magazines too. Comprehending the words isn’t really the point with babies this young. For infants, reading is about the tone of your voice and cuddling up to you.

My favorite and highly recommended books for children are, in no particular order:

  •  Beautifully illustrated Eric Carle books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar;  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; The Mixed Up Chameleon
  •  Dr. Seuss titles like Green Eggs and Ham (I think I used to have Cat in the Hat before but I lost it 😦 )
  •  Leo Leonni books like Little Blue and Little Yellow
  •  Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  •  The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  •  Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (though the story behind this well-loved book is very sad)
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (I’m still waiting for a nice copy of this!)

As I browse through books available online, I discovered:

  •  a book by Sandra Boynton like Moo, Baa, La La La, which I can imagine will be so much fun to read with River. 🙂
  • Usborne books like Baby’s Very First Touchy-Feely Books (Other Usborne books like the series “This is Not My _______” (Fill in with an animal like duckling, fox, hedgehog) – they are “touchy-feely” books too that are fun to read and great for building up your child’s adjective bank.
  • Cloth books from Urban Mom (on Instagram and Facebook) (activity type books and not story books)
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Photo from Ohbabyph – Got 2 board books for 520 pesos only!
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Photo from Ohbabyph – 5 children’s classic books for 650 pesos only! (130 pesos each)

Some of the hardbound books I bought from HappyTreePh 🙂

Update:  Newly discovered online IG stores:  bookboutiqueph (plenty of boardbooks to choose from!  I’m starting to collect Sandra Boynton books), bookishlily, and playand learnmanila.  They both have Facebook accounts, but I prefer to shop on IG since it is more “private.”  On Facebook, every like and comment I make on these books will appear on my feed.

More references / articles on reading to babies / children:

(1) Setting Children Up to Hate Reading

Things to avoid – but this is more for older children.  No pressure, just enjoy reading to them! They’re not expected to be able to read until they’re in Grade 1.

(2) Reading Books to Babies

Interesting part of the article:

Believe it or not, by the time babies reach their first birthday they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. The more stories you read aloud, the more words your child will be exposed to and the better he or she will be able to talk.

I’ll research about preparing babies to be bilingual…I’ll need books in Filipino too!  How about trilingual – add Mandarin to the list?

(3) Reading Tips for Parents of Babies
This article gives practical tips like snuggle up with a book, talk to your baby all day long, keep books where children can reach them, and develop a daily routine.

(4) Reading to Babies: A Beginner’s Guide

This article recommends Usborne “That’s Not My …” series.  Here’s a complete list of books to watch out for:

Recommended for 0-18 months

  • Nina Laden, Peek-a-Who
  • Usborne, That’s Not My….series
  • Mem Fox, Ten Little Fingers
  • Helen Oxenbury, Clap Hands/ All Fall Down/Night Night/ Tickle
  • Eric Carle, Brown Bear, Brown Bear/ The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Rod Campbell, Dear Zoo

(5) Baby Lit 101Baby Lit 101

Ever since the American Academy of Pediatrics advised parents to ban television for children younger than age two—and more recently encouraged parents to read to their babies from birth—families are seeking to connect with their little ones over books. But what types of books appeal most to babies?

Enter board books, the durable—and less expensive—counterpart to traditional story books. According to experts, intimate moments spent sharing simple board books with baby help build listening and visual skills that form the basis for independent reading later on.

Tips from the article, for babies (ages 0–1):

  1. Think of reading time as cuddle time. Hold baby on your lap and read to him. He will associate reading with warm and cozy feelings.
  2. Look for books that have just a few pages and large, inviting illustrations or photos. This keeps baby engaged. Babies like looking at faces of people, familiar objects like balls or bottles, and especially photos of other babies.
  3. Use your normal voice. It’s familiar and comforting to your tot.
  4. Choose books with rhymes and repetition. Babies love the way words sound.
  5. Point to (and label) pictures—a kitty, a pup, a ball, a flower. Teach your baby that objects have names.
  6.  Encourage exploration. Babies learn by tasting and touching. Be sure to stash a collection of colorful, sturdy, and age-appropriate books on your baby’s library shelf and allow her to “play” with them at will.

My goal is not to make River be able to read ahead of his peers, but to help him love books and support his speech development.   I just hope he’ll be able to read at the right time, when it is already developmentally appropriate for him. 🙂

We plan to home school him too… and that’s another topic.  We’ll see about that. 🙂

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Making books accessible – this will be our “Now Reading” box containing books for the week.
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