Call me kiasu. We introduced board books to our children the moment they can crawl and grab things. For the first one year, it was merely a take-and-throw experience, followed by subsequent page flipping and books throwing. Luckily they didn’t have the habit of chewing their toys and books.
Going to the library has become a tri-weekly habit ever since 5 years ago. We bought tons of books too. It started off as a one-way mummy/daddy read-aloud activity and is now a must-have activity every night before they sleep. It was tedious for us as we read 2 books per child, or 4 per adult if one partner happened to be away at work (overseas trip or burning midnight oil in the office). No regrets as we are reaping the rewards now. They love reading. Over the past couple of years, they gradually learn to pull out the books from their shelves and sit quietly to read by themselves.
I believe in giving them freedom to choose their own books so as to build up their interest in reading. But I will also quietly insert some other types of books to give them more varieties. In the initial years, my son went for Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, and non-friction books on dinosaur and vehicles (construction, military, transportation, etc). As a result, I built up my vocabulary on vehicles and dinosaurs which I had no interest in previously. By the time he turned 5, he became interested in Superheros and I started learning about Avengers and Justice League. My daughter was fascinated by the cute little Maisy and Peppa Pig initially and subsequently moved on to Disney Princesses.
The turning point to independent read-aloud sessions was after I introduced them the “Read-it-yourself” and the “World of Reading” series. My daughter started with “Princess and the Pea” and became obsessed with reading aloud every night. We guided her along. I think she felt a great sense of achievement for being able to read a book entirely by herself. As for my son, he abandoned his Fireman Sam and fell in love with the Avengers. That was about 2 years ago.
A lot of violence are involved and the world is never once saved via peaceful means. The Hulk’s favorite word is “Hulk smash” and he has an anger management problem. Most of the superheros use their brute strength as the only way to saving the world. I never see them plan and strategize before. Now my son seems to think that problems can be resolved only via violence, and I need to undo the damage done for the readings and the cartoons. He is now watching “PJ Masks” and the little heros there advocate “there is more than one way to solving a problem“.
As for the princesses, I similarly have to remind my daughter that a girl does not need to rely on a handsome young prince to be assured of a “happily ever after” life. Nor does she need to be very beautiful in order to get a good husband. And there is no such things as “love at first sight”!
Everyone including the children is busy and tied down with schoolwork or other commitments. We need to get more out of our reading sessions. We have since moved on from merely reading out the words from the book to engaging the children with questions and retelling us the story without referring to the books. Retelling the stories would help them to strengthen memory and retention power. We ask questions to improve their comprehension, sharpen their reasoning and inferring skills, as well as to express their own opinions. This never happen after a single reading session. These days, we even cook up ridiculous stories using characters they love. This helps improve their composition skills, I hope.
Going forward, I will share any noteworthy book we come across in my blog.
P/s: There are affiliated links in this post. You will not incur additional cost if you choose to purchase the books I mentioned via these links.