Our Family Focus series continues with a look at the best way to get toddlers interested in books. Reading to toddlers is not about learning to read, it's about having fun with books.
You might say 18-month-old Eowyn was born to read. She was named after a literary character from Lord of the Rings. Her dad and mom are history and english teachers, respectively. She was basically born with a book in hand. Her little brother, too.
"These kids are going are to grow up surrounded by books. In fact, I have books in every corner of her room," said Celsea Bonilla. This mom is not so concerned - at this point- with her children learning to read. She first wants them to learn to love books, so she starts by making their first interactions with books a fun experience.
"Her first interaction with it were chewing the edges of them as you can see with this one," said Chelsea holding up a children's book with a gnawed-off corner.
"It's perfectly acceptable and encouraged to allow your baby to chew on the book to smell the book to be excited about the book," said Program Officer at First Five Fresno County Hannah Norman, who also said that's all part of the learning process.
Early literacy is not about kids reading and writing by three or even five-years-old, it's about positive experiences early on in life that set the foundation to then learn to read and write in school.
"For our infants and toddlers, we encourage parents to follow their child's lead and that may mean opening a book and looking at the same picture the entire time cause that's their favorite picture," said Norman.
Using that picture to start a conversation helps the child to build their vocabulary setting them up for success in school. As do everyday experiences from cooking, cleaning, trips to the library and, of course, reading.
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