One is to use my degree in teaching and reading instruction at home with our daughter. For those who don't know, I started working with kids when I was 18 when I volunteered in Detroit elementary schools 4 days a week. In my time at University of Michigan, I probably spent just as much time in elementary schools as I did in Ann Arbor (if not more). That time was very informative in understanding how kids process information. I also worked in Chicago Public Schools as a Reading Specialist and in New York Public Schools as a Literacy Consultant. I love to read. Joe loves to read and we want to foster that love of reading in our daughter.
Being literate is a very complex process - it includes language acquisition, oral acquisition, actual identification of the symbols we call an alphabet, to name a few. I am a member of the International Reading Association so I will be leaning heavily on their resources for young children as I focused most of my work on elementary and middle school kids (mostly 2nd-8th grades).
There is a lot that Joe and I can do at home to build fantastic reading habits. It's hard in the age of Kindles, Nooks and iPads - but there is a lot of research to suggest that the physical number of books you have in your own library at homes strongly and positively influences a child's interest in reading. We want her to be curious about these things on her shelves (and ours) and not just the technology that it might be on. So, Joe and I set out to investigate which books would be good to build Liliana's first physical book library.
One goal is to have books that she will like. But other goals are important too -- which books will I use to be able to teach skills later and will she be excited to show us that she learned to read? Which books will become old favorites that she can return to read which will help build her reading confidence? And most importantly, which books will not drive me crazy reading night after night?!
One of the resources that I used as a professional was the American Library Association to sift through the millions of children's books that are out there. So, we started there. The ALA is a fantastic resource and I found their list of suggestions for a child's first library. They have suggestions for every age group - we obviously started with birth-3. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we have started to assemble some of the books and we put the rest on our Amazon baby registry. I added some others like nursery rhymes, which are also important for young readers to hear the cadence and rhyming they offer and my mom added my childhood favorite, The Poky Little Puppy! It's nice to be able to have personal ties to the books that we read to Liliana - so if you had a childhood favorite, we'd love to share it with her and tell her whose favorite it is - just let me know in the comments section!
For those of you wondering, using our local resources will be important too. Joe and I will go get library cards for us and one for her, when we can. We'll make library trips a regular part of our routine (it helps that it is 2 blocks away!) and I will likely try to seek out local storytellers and art/artists for children since art is another form of expressing your literate self.
Let the reading journey begin. To start, we'll try to make reading to her a part of our routine. She can hear our voices and get in the habit of reading :)
What was your favorite book as a young child?