Bedtime Reading Journey of a First-Time Parent
Precious Moments and Lifetime Memories Through Books
The first few weeks as a first-time parent are a rollercoaster of emotions. You feel overjoyed from all the love you feel for the little human being you brought into the world. Once in a while, little moments of frustration creep in, and some petty things just seem irritating when it gets in your way. On some days you just feel exhausted after long, sleepless nights, never-ending wipes, diaper changes, and the tiring task of putting a restless crying baby to sleep. Yes, those nights were long-how you’d just stare at the ceiling and never realise it was dawn until the first rays of sunlight peep through your window. These perfectly imperfect moments are the ones that make parenthood meaningful. As they say, the nights are long but the year and short, so make every moment you have with your child special.
Bedtime reading is the best way to build a lasting bond with your little one. Bedtime story, or any form of shared book reading, has long been described as a vocabulary acquisition device (Ninio, 1983). In another study, it was also noted that frequent book reading by English-speaking mothers was related to children’s vocabulary at 14 and 24 months and to comprehension at 36 months (Raikes et al., 2006). Even J.K Rowling herself supports the importance of bedtime reading!
At first, reading books to babies may not feel so relevant, infants really don’t give you so much reaction when you’re reading to them. They’d just stare at you and when you’re lucky, you get a giggle or a coo. But, as they grow older, and reading has become part of their routine, you’ll realise how those everyday moments of reading have become an important part of your lives. Board books are great for beginners, introduce children to books with large photos that keep them curious and excited as you go through each page together. Sit them on your lap, and hold their hand, guiding them as you carefully flip each page of the book. Babies love colourful picture books where everything they see is all new to them! Every day, it’s a routine that you lovingly do, unconsciously building a bond between you two.
A little sooner, your child will be ready for lengthier tales. At this stage, choosing the right book for them is very important. As their knowledge of the world increase, they also become pickier with their choices. Choose books that spark their interest, books that they can actually relate to. In fact, you can even have a book personalised, with over 200 character variations for you to choose from. A personalised book features your child as the hero of the story, empowering them to dream big!
Bedtime Story Journey of a First-Time Parent: Personalised Books for Shared Reading
Reading to and with a kid in a supportive home learning environment helps young children establish positive attitudes toward reading and encourages reading for pleasure, which enhances vocabulary, comprehension, and reading ability. A study by the National Literacy Trust also suggests that children who receive parental support in the form of early shared reading have an increased likelihood of reading for pleasure when they grow older.
The choice of books also greatly affects the response of the child to reading, and therefore, is a key element to building a reading habit. It appears likely that children who find reading difficult is usually because of uninteresting materials and would become more involved in personalised stories because of their personal relevance (Bracken, 1982). This statement by Bracken supports the idea that children are more interested in books that have personal relevance to them, books that they can relate to. Personalisation of the key elements of the book, such as the name and appearance of the character, boosts the child’s reading comprehension and gives them a sense of ownership of the text. In fact, another study by the National Literacy Trust found that children who read books with personalised elements increased their reading comprehension by 40%! Interest in the book has been discovered to have an impact on the learning, attention, and comprehension of children and affects their emotional engagement too (Schiefele, 1999 as cited by Clark and Phythian-Sence, 2008)
As a first-time parent, absorbing all the “must-dos” and “must-haves” of parenthood can be quite overwhelming. The bottom line is that we just want to bring out the best in our children. Starting early in your reading journey is very important, it leaves a lasting impact on your child emotionally and intellectually. Choose books with personalised elements that the child can relate to, personalised books are your best choice for shared reading. More importantly, spend time reading with your child, remember that as the child’s first teacher, only you have the ability to bridge the child’s world and the world of the books!