Begin Smart Books. A Book You Read, A Mind You FeedSep 10th, 2010 | By Cloutwomen | Category: Book Signings, Books
Out & About on Assignment: Kaye Cloutman
The whole summer with my toddler has been such an amazing journey. He just turned three a couple days ago and each day that followed proved that he really is no longer a baby. Somewhere inside me is a person who is still stuck with the lullabies while swaddling and rocking him to sleep, but then immediately, my daydreaming is put to an abrupt end as soon as I open his room to reveal a category 5 hurricane mess with toys and books all over the place. Can a baby reason out “It’s my beautiful mess Mommy!” when asked about the condition of the playroom catastrophe? Can a baby walk into your room in the middle of the night and blurt out “I wanna spoon you mommy!”? Can a baby gyrate with swagger and give you a smokin’ dance move when he hears OMG of Usher or Dynamite by Taio Cruz? So yes, it was a hard fact for me to accept that my son, Johnny, is far from the sleeping bundle of joy I once so enjoyed.
From the time he was one year old though, Johnny has been inundated with a more amazing assortment of books than you can imagine. Parents in this era are very lucky to have all sorts of cool reads for their children. From touch-and-feel board books to pages with moving images, these fantastic colorful volumes have come a long way since my own pre-school days and because of my wonderful job, I always have access to the best ones. I think to myself so often, “I love what I do” because I was a library kid myself; I could live there and be happy.
A couple weeks ago, Johnny and I went to our favorite local Barnes and Noble store to scout for summer reads. I was busy looking at the New Arrivals pile as he wandered off to the other one right across. I was marveling at the numerous books about monsters and planets on display, but Johnny was stuck reading and examining the covers of the books in the BEGIN SMART aisle. From the corner of my eye, I saw him open one and started blurting out the names of shapes and colors inside it. I approached him and he showed me the other ones too, so I asked him what he saw. He explained it to me and some passersby even found it really cute to see a toddler narrate and make up a story to an adult based on the pictures he saw. “These books look very familiar” I thought. And then it dawned on me that my editor, Ross, actually gave me a couple of these titles days ago to review.
BEGIN SMART is clearly geared for young children to effectively feed their insatiable appetite to learn. The colorful illustrations complement the simple, fun prose on every page so I decided to pay my favorite daycare provider a visit and do a Story Time Morning Session for the kids and Johnny.
“The kids have been eagerly waiting for you…” exclaimed Winnie Coleto, owner of Nature’s Kids Child Care, as I entered the door. With wide-eyed faces and smiles from ear to ear, it simply was one of those Kodak ™ moments that was truly priceless. Carrying a bag filled with BEGIN SMART books, I felt like Santa Claus handing out gifts to a bunch of kids that morning and Johnny was my little elf helping with the whole thing. “Story time is one of those activities we do that the children look forward to every day. They almost always prefer a reading activity to watching TV and that brings me joy to no end” Coleto continued.
For thirty minutes or so, the kids brought their favorite BEGIN SMART books one by one to the front and sat on my lap to share the stories. The textures from “Where’s Your Nose?” made them blurt out hilarious stuff like “it feels like daddy’s stinky socks” and by the time we finished “Counting Ducks” they all decided to sing nursery rhymes about duckies which ended up in big rolls of laughter of course. The older kids also suggested I give Lily’s Potty to the youngest girl in the group. “She needs all the help she can get and that book looks really cool” said Mariah who seemed really concerned for her. I couldn’t agree more. Johnny is just about in that stage now where he’s mastering his toileting skills and Pete’s Potty has been an awesome bathroom companion and guide. The graduation from diaper to wipes to training pants and potty time is not an easy task and can be daunting to some children especially if it is introduced prematurely. The BEGIN SMART books dedicated to this subject matter absolutely present an unthreatening and enjoyable way to flush your child’s fears away.
From birth to 4 years, BEGIN SMART books have all the right materials to help parents and remind us that it’s never too early to instill an early love of reading to our children.
Some of the benefits of BEGIN SMART:
- Language production
- Small / Large Motor Development
- Story Progression
- Stimulate Motor Skills
- Matching Words
- Parent-Child Interaction
From 0-6 months old
Your baby is learning how to look at a book.
When you read, you take for granted that there will be words on the page, the words will be the same every time, and the words will be about the pictures. When you read a book together and point to the pictures, you’re helping your baby learn that for him or herself. Until children learn about the magic inside, a book is just another colorful toy.
From 6-12 months old
Expect your baby to wiggle as you read.
There will be some magical moments when your baby cuddles up into your lap and attentively listens as you read. But you’ll probably be able to count those moments on one hand. Don’t be surprised if your baby rolls on top of the book, crawls away from it, or grabs it! Let him take the book and pick up another, or turn it into a game. Enjoy the time and the process — a child’s attention span is still fairly short at this age, so if his or her attention wanders too much, don’t be surprised , it just means he or she’s telling you it’s time to take a break.
From 12-18 months old
- Read your toddler’s favorite book — again and again and again! Exact repetition is comforting at this age.
- Look for books filled with animal pictures and practice making animal sounds together.
- Let your baby read to you. Listen, smile, and laugh as she points and babbles.
- Find books that feature one of your toddler’s favorite words, such as blanket or cat, and encourage her to say the word with you.
- Keep a book in your child’s stroller or near his car seat. It’s the perfect portable toy!
From 18-36 months old
Your toddler has a lot to learn.
Of course, reading books together helps your child develop literacy skills. But he or she’s also learning other subjects, too. Animal and nature books might kick off their first foray into the world of science. Shape books can show them how to look for circles, squares, and triangles in everyday objects. And there’s a whole world of art appreciation waiting in your collection of picture books!
You get to share an experience together.
You and your toddler sometimes have wildly different priorities. You’d like to check a few errands off your list, while he or she would like to stay at the playground all afternoon. But reading can be a priority that you can both enjoy. You can enter new worlds together, and know that you’re helping your child learn.