Dear Grandparenting: My question concerns helping my grandson learn to read. Joey is barely two years old. I spent a good deal of time caring for him. I usually have a book in my lap while he putters about with toys and such.
It occurs to me that perhaps I should read “children’s books” with Joey. I’ve heard that can turn small children into book haters by making them do something before they’re ready.
On the other hand, I can report that Joey doesn’t seem to mind our “reading,” if you call it that. There are many devoted readers in our family and I’m hoping Joey will come to love books too. What do you think? Elena Stern, New York, New York
Dear Elena: Some well-meaning child authorities may discourage “reading” with toddlers, but we think that misses the point.
Taking a little reader into your lap with a children’s book is one of the major joys of grandparenting. Babies love repetition, and we know grandparents who will re-read the same book several hundred times or more, enchanted as the child begins to mimic sounds and words, and points out objects.
It makes for a hands-on interaction of the highest order — the attention and physical contact children crave, and quality time for grandparents.
Reading with a grandparent is a totally different experience than learning to read in school. Maybe their little brains can’t quite keep up with you, but your hearts will be in sync. Here’s to many happy books together!
Grand remark of the week
Kelli Evers from Ann Arbor, Michigan was supervising granddaughter Andrea’s bath. When Andrea began to stand, Kelli told her to sit.
“That’s very dangerous. It’s easy to slip and fall and hurt yourself. Sends plenty of people to hospitals,” said Kelli.
“You told me to get good and clean all over,” explained Andrea. “How can I do that when I’m sitting on what I’m supposed to clean and soap?”
Kelli broke into a smile. “Good point.”