February 19, 2010, Epoch Times
Laying the foundation for a love of reading
Abraham Lincoln once said, “A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.”
It is the early introduction to reading that develops such a capacity, as well as provides a bonding experience between the child and the reader. Consider these titles at the earliest construction phase of your child’s bookshelf:
I Love You As Much… by Laura Krauss Melmed; illustrations by Henri Sorensen; published by HarperFestival.
Simply a celebration of love between a mother and a child, this soothing board book begins, “Said the mother horse to her child, ‘I love you as much as a warm summer breeze.’” It then goes on to feature pairings of beautifully illustrated bears, camels, ducks, and more … ending with a human mother coddling her baby. This book introduces language, rhymes, and animals, and provides a simple and enjoyable reading experience for parent and very young child.
Beatrix Potter’s Nursery Rhyme Book by Beatrix Potter; published by F. Warne & Co.
A lovely collection of classic nursery rhymes, this book comes with a CD and the charming illustrations of Beatrix Potter. One may focus on one rhyme at a time or go through the book page by page—a foundational piece for sure.
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle; published by Philomel.
Featuring the recognizable illustrations of Eric Carle, a spider is too busy spinning her web to “go for a ride” on a horse or “run in the meadow” with a sheep or “roll in the mud” with a pig. While the many animal visitors try to garner the spider’s attention, her web grows and grows. This story provides a beautiful element of predictability and repetition, perfect for reading aloud to young children.
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrations by Felicia Bond; published by HarperFestival.
Follow the animals on the farm throughout the day as the sun rises and sets and, finally, “the moon sails high in the dark night sky.” The detailed illustrations and the animal sounds make this book a delightful daytime read as growing children can learn to mimic the sounds and point to the animals. It is also a soothing bedtime story as the sun goes down gradually throughout and the animals return to the barn to sleep.
Look At You—A Baby Body Book by Kathy Henderson; illustrated by Paul Howard; published by Candlewick Press.
Venture around the world of growing babies, as “fingers and toes wiggle. Eyes, nose, and mouth giggle.” This simple book with lots of baby faces to delight little ones celebrates the details of familiar experiences and milestones. Written with an air of curiosity and exploration, the growing baby body is celebrated and adored through descriptive rhymes.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss; published by Random House.
In this classic tale, a rainy day turns into one of shenanigans and mess when a precocious cat invites himself in to play. Dr. Suess’s use of simple, repetitive words and, of course, rhyme makes for an ideal introduction to language and reading fun. A number of Seuss titles would fit the bill as the first books on the shelf of a young child, this one being the most recognizable.
Additional note: The benefits of reading aloud to children are numerous and undeniable. Author Jim Trelease has written “the book” on this topic with his best-seller The Read-Aloud Handbook (Penguin Books)—a collection of statistics and stories extolling the virtues of reading to children along with a voluminous list of titles from which to choose. For the adult considering the building blocks of a young child’s library, this book will prove a rich resource.