The Importance of Story Time

Books GeekMom
Image: Sarah Pinault

When I went to the hospital to have my son, I took many things with me; fresh clothes, a cute outfit for him, a loofah, and Slaughterhouse V by Kurt Vonnegut – a girl’s gotta read right? So while I nursed my son I read, I didn’t have the best breastfeeding experience but that part I enjoyed. Within a few days I was reading all manner of fiction to my son. Things bearing his name like Toby and the Secrets of the Tree, but also Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and Robert McCloskey’s Time of Wonder. I needed to not go insane and he needed to hear my voice, so I read these longer works for children instead of Each Peach Pear Plum. When he started grabbing at things, he was given a cloth book with black and white images, he loved it. Then slowly he grew, and instead of wanting to simply hear my voice, he wanted to interact with the words on the page. So we brought in Dear Zoo, That’s Not My Teddy and other such things.  Lift the flap books proved to be very popular.

Image: Wikipedia

At bed time, I carried on reading to him from books for older children, though none as wordy as The Wind in the Willows. I chose Curious George as our first big endeavour, interspersed with more from Mcloskey such as Make Way for Ducklings, and also things like The Tiger Who Came To Tea and Hugless Douglas. But it was Curious George that I loved, and as it turned out, he did too. About a week after we had completed the original stories, he saw a boy carrying a monkey and yelled out “George! George!” This told me several things about my son. Firstly, he liked George! Secondly, he had actually been listening to the words I spoke instead of just listening to my voice. Thirdly, he was able to connect a 2D character from a book with an “actual” monkey. Given that he had never said the word “George” before that moment, I was impressed with his ability to connect something from one aspect of his life to something rather peripheral.

Image: Wikipedia

We continue to read Curious George but we also mix it up with the many other books in his ever growing library. At the moment he has two new favorites. A mummy-inflicted-experience is The Moomins by Tove Janson, which we have not started reading in full yet but of which he has several board and lift-the-flaps books. It’s a nice introduction to the peculiar characters that I loved in my childhood, and I know he will appreciate the stories more once we get to them because of these beginner books. Of late, he has also taken an interest in Thomas the Tank Engine. We had a few of the newer stories, but I toddled off to my local library to get the complete works of Rev.  Awdrey. Thanks to a new nighttime ritual of his, he screamed through the first two stories, but on the third night he stood up in his crib, pointed and said “Thomas? Thomas?” before calmly sitting through a new story. Our morning ritual is now to sit on the loveseat and read Thomas stories from his smaller books. Sharing a good story with him is one of the things that I love about motherhood.

Next on the list? Badjelly the Witch of course!

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10 thoughts on “The Importance of Story Time

  1. My son adored Thomas. So much of his imaginative play was about the trains. I love that great children’s literature will feed children’s imaginations in that way.

  2. I love that you also read A Wind in the Willows to your son when he was a newborn! I turned to that one during the early weeks of breastfeeding and loved it. I took a break for awhile (still need to finish it!) and read Dr. Doolittle, then had fun with Dr. Seuss. My hubby is now reading The Hobbit to us at night. Thanks for the reminder that story time doesn’t need to only occur at night, though!

  3. Reading “chapter” books to my two children is one of the best parts of the day. My daughter (10) will have to go away to boarding school in 2 years (we live in the bush) and she is already planning for me to ring her each night to read to her. I suggested that I might send a recorded file instead. I love that they both want to be read to even though they are both good readers. It allows us to share books that expand thier reading and challenge thier ideas. The time with my son (8) is especially nice as he is a very on the go boy (with ADD) and this is one of the very rare times he spends still. My youngest son (6) spent a week in ICU after he was born and got to hear the poerty of Banjo Patterson, much to the ammusment of the nurses. The time spent reading to children can only be good for everyone. It improves the childs knowledge and helps build a relationship between family members. I love it.

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