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Close up of various book covers

Ready for Reading

Author: Kate Hayes
Published Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Reading has always been one of my favorite activities. Growing up, I remember trips to the library, a shelf of colorful books in the living room, and reading Nancy Drew stories with my mother every night before bed. Of course, at the time, I had no idea how important reading was to my development. I just LOVED books.

Even before she was born, Annabel and I started bonding through books. While I was pregnant, I would sit in the rocking chair in her room and read out loud. It gave me a chance to wind down before bed, and I know she was listening to my voice. Now this special connection continues every night as part of her bedtime routine.

Reading is not just a night time activity either. During the day, Annabel brings me books, and sometimes, she actually cuddles and lets me read to her. Other times, she just opens and closes the book or turns the pages before I ever get a chance to read a word. No matter what, it’s always interactive and fun. Even if we don’t get to every page, she likes to point at pictures, and I make up a story or say the names of the objects she sees. The more words a child hears in the first few years of life, the better chance she has at a broad vocabulary as an adult. It’s amazing to think how doing something we both enjoy is building her brain and setting up a foundation for later learning.

Even though she likes to look at the same books over and over, we have managed to collect many books in the past year. What can I say – I love books! In an effort to keep costs down, we buy them from CHKD Thrift Stores. When she gets a little older I am sure we’ll visit the library frequently to check out books and take advantage of the great programs they provide for children.

Every time Annabel has a well check-up with her pediatrician at Premier Pediatrics, she is given a new book as part of CHKD’s Reach Out and Read program. It’s an early literacy program that provides an age-appropriate book to a child at each pediatrician well visit until she enters kindergarten. She is too young to realize the importance of literacy, but she certainly does get excited when she sees a new book!

And, I’m excited to share my love of reading with Annabel. I know it is a passion we will continue to share for the rest of our lives. As she gets older, we can read together or discuss what we are reading, just as I do with my adult siblings. Right now, my sister, brother and I are all reading the new Harry Potter book, and we have lots to talk about.

Reading is not only a way to foster a baby’s brain development, but it can help foster strong family bonds, too.

Happy parenting and happy reading!

About Kate Hayes

About Kate  Hayes Kate Hayes lives in Virginia Beach, VA and is a first time parent to Annabel – born on July 22, 2015. Kate is a yoga and aerial fitness instructor. She especially enjoys teaching on the beach, and is certified in laughing yoga, and prenatal yoga. Kate and her husband, Robert, enjoy spending time with their daughter and their two dogs.