Friday, April 16, 2010

Little Reader

I mentioned a few posts back that I had a new obsession. Well, I do, it's true.

As you may know, Tim and I are a couple of nerds. While most people might bring their little girl home in a carefully chosen outfit with pink flowers and frills we opted for the 'nerdling' onesie we  found while Christmas shopping.

 I laugh when I see this picture now - how we didn't have a clue what we were doing. Look at that naked head! And it's directly on the carpet! And the bare newborn twiggly legs!

She had her first library card before she was 10 weeks old.

Early on as a tiny infant I read to her from Barbara Walters autobiography (she is a woman worth emulating, in my humble opinion) and Moira read her the Wall Street Journal. Can you see where this is headed?

We have provided her with board books from very early on and she has had an age appropriate response to them (picks them up, bangs them together, chews on them, flips through the pages.

A couple of months ago Ada found my picture books from my childhood on the bookshelf on her own. She pulled book after book off the shelf and put them in her mouth and opened the hard backs and gazed in wonder at the illustrations on the pages. I watched her and imagined her as a toddler. I fantasized about her bringing books to us to read while snuggling  in bed, much like we do now. 

In a moment it occurred to me to begin a library for her. It wasn't easy to know where to start. I took Kiddie Lit as a senior in college and dropped it. I couldn't connect with spending weeks in deep analysis of Where the Wild Things Are! I polled a few key sources for the stories she simply shouldn't escape childhood without reading. I cashed in some gift certificates that I had been holding on to. I like to do that - wait for the perfect item, then use my gift certificate for it and follow it up with a message to the giftee about how much I'm enjoying the thing I got. Yesterday, while we were down in the Haight running some errands, we popped in to the Goodwill. There were surprisingly some great finds - the book section there is well-stocked. We walked out with 5 great like-new books for under 8 clams.

Her collection swelled quickly and now we are just in a pattern where we will add to it more slowly. I have a newly discovered love for children's literature. The books on the shelf now are all great and in my little fantasy she will want to keep these books forever. I even got her some bookplates from Silly Goose.

When she is old enough for it I plan on mounting a couple of THESE so that she can access her books more easily. I also found a site called The Story Home where you can get Podcasts of stories being read aloud. I'm not trying to pressure her but I am trying to capitalize on this most impressionable period in her life - a love of learning and reading will always serve well. Sparking her imagination with stories is fertilizer to her young mind.