How Losing a Loved One Helped This Mom Turn Kids into Life-Long Readers
The Read To Me Program sprang nearly fully formed shortly after my mother died way too soon. Suddenly I was acutely aware of the limits of time. Life moves along swiftly whether you are paying attention or not.
So, could I create a way of being with my young school aged children AND work to effectively contribute something important to other mothers and young children? Everything seemed to be found in shared reading. Nothing gave both mother and child more pleasure than cuddling up with books. Story and art made life richer. Sharing them brought us closer together.
Contemporary research on brain and child development, and learning, has subsequently validated my passion. The stimulus a child experiences from hearing varied words from a beloved parent is a key signifier of later school success. Books provide art and story that encourage imagination and creativity. Additionally, stories offer enriched vocabulary, sentence structure and rhythm, and all of the other aspects of language like grammar, and rhyme, and dialogue. And it’s one of life’s true pleasures. Win-Win!
Both of my children loved reading books with us before they could read, and both became excellent readers. Ben works to convert books into movies; Emma is a writer who published a collection of short stories and a first novel last year.
Soon I’ll be a granny for the first time. So, here are a few picture books about my emerging grannyhood!
• More More More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
• Piggy Bunny by Rachel Vail and Jeremy Tankard
• I Love You, Grandma by Jillian Harker and Kristina Stephenson
Susan Straub, who lives in New York City, founded the READ TO ME program more than 20 years ago, a national workshop encouraging young families to read to their babies that is still thriving. Straub’s work with READ TO ME has been celebrated on NY1 television and in Oprah’s O magazine.
Straub is an author of “Reading with Babies, Toddlers & Twos” with New York Times lead blogger and editor for the Motherlode blog KJ Dell’Antonia and coordinator of Early Childhood Services at Brooklyn Public Library, Rachel Payne.