Kay Smith gave a presentation on the importance of literacy in children’s lives. Kay is a representative from Women United (a program of United Way Utah County) an organization working to ensure that by 2020, 95% of Utah County children read at grade level by the end of third grade. Reading to infants may feel awkward, and some may feel their efforts are futile, after all, how much do babies really understand? While infants may not understand the meanings of the words or follow the story line, they are learning. When we read to babies, they learn four things: first, communication; second, concepts such as shapes, colors, numbers and letters; third, memory, children are banking sounds and words to build their vocabularies; and fourth, information about the world.
Books can be expensive. Kay presented an innovative and versatile idea to provide inexpensive and chewable picture books – Baggie Books! Insert colored construction paper or cardstock into zippered sandwich bags and staple together opposite the opening. Cover the staples with duct tape. Add photos from magazines or of family members. Seal the bags, and you’ve created a custom-made book. Describe the pictures and make connections to your child. When your child’s interest dwindles, it is easy to change the pictures.
Thanks for the great message and practical idea! Reading to babies is fun and important!