Monday, January 4, 2010

Progress-Childhood Literacy

I love tennis balls. And no I don't play tennis. Lately my back aches have been getting worse and worse so when hubby rubs my back with a tennis ball, it feels soooo much better. I had no idea that tennis balls were so great for that sort of thing. I've tried the messagers both the kind you rub and the kind that vibrate, but they don't seem to work as well. centimeter dilated and 50% effaced. Yeah!! Progress. Dr says most likely will go into labor at due date and not before.

So I've vowed not to get antsy and go nutty so I'm sticking to my plan of discussing things besides giving birth (which seems scary to me). I've decided literacy is a good topic.

Recently with all the Christmas fan fare, a friend of mine discussed his dislike of plastic toys and toys that require batteries. I don't have a problem with plastic stuff that much, but I agree about the toys with batteries. Children learn to explore and be creative when they have toys that are "open ended" meaning blocks and trucks and things that don't have a specific purpose unlike the types of toys that talk to you or read you books.

The books with batteries aren't as great as reading a story to your child. The story never changes where emphasis is and if you aren't there, the child can't ask you questions about something or tell you something related to the story. You can't also ask the child questions about things going on in the story either.

Generally speaking, babies don't have books that read to them. Usually parents do, and the sooner parents read to their child the better. I don't know about you, but I don't use as many words during my day as there are to choose from. Books help give me a different vocabulary. And babies need a wide vocabulary just like preschools need to learn about print awareness. Plus books with lots of pictures help babies learn what these words mean.

Last week, before hubby got sick, we went to a book store. My MIL gave me a gift cards for Christmas and since I usually go to the library rather than stock pile books that I may never read again, I decided to use the cards on the baby. People have given us books, but I was looking for some specific ones. And babies chew and destroy books so if I do check out books for the baby, those books will have to kept for special time and out of reach. So here is my recommended list of books for babies.

For young babies:
1) cloth books
2) teething books (stuff attached to cloth books for chewing)
3) crinkly books (babies like sounds, they hear better than see)
4) bath books (can be used in bath later but also great for chewing)

For babies who are 6-12 months
5) board books
6) board books with touchy stuff (texture is great, hubby spent a great deal of time evaluating these types. It was great fun watching him get interested in baby books)
7) board books with finger puppets (hubby didn't like those as much)

I recommend books with lots of pictures and limited words. You can make up a different story as you read the same book each time. Although repetition is good for babies, so maybe stick to two different versions. Plus babies have a small attention span. You don't want to stay on a page for too long.

I also don't recommend books with parts that stick out. Some board books with touchy stuff attach the stuff loosely and it can be ripped out. Also I don't recommend pop up books until later for the same reason. Babies can easy choke on small parts or destroy these books. Teaching children how to take care of books is as much a part of literacy as is learning to read.

As the baby grows I recommend adding books that are interactive. Books with zippers and snaps are great so long as they are attached well. Same with pop up books or books with sliders. This would be for babies who are about age one.

I don't recommend regular paper books until children get over the oral phase (sticking stuff in their mouths). Cloth books can be wiped down or thrown in the wash. Board books can be wiped down easily as well. Bath books are awesome if your worried about bringing a book to a germy place (like the doctor). If the book gets dropped, you can take it to the bathroom and clean it with soap and water. Our pediatricians office is awesome though. They have separated sections of the waiting room for sick children and well children, but I would still wash the book. You never know if a sick kid has wondered into the well section.

I hope that this gives moms great ideas for books for their baby or adding to their collection. Mostly I hope that you will remember to read a book to your child at least once a day. Literacy is so important to brain development. And I don't know about you but I don't talk about polar bears that much (although I bet people who live in Alaska do). The more books with different words; the more your baby learns stuff.

Side note: I saw a Darwin fish on the back of someone's car today. I made the comment that that was catty. I believe in evolution so do many other Christians. The only reason why someone would attach a Jesus/Darwin fish to their car was to be catty. My hubby asked me what the word catty was. My parents use it as part of their vocabulary so I never really thought about a dictionary definition (also being preggo doesn't help). He suggested tacky as a synonym, but I said that wasn't it either. I ended up looking up the word. It means, "slyly malicious or spiteful." See reading and talking to your children does make a difference. Thanks Mom and Dad!


  1. Glad things are going well! Random funny, I was looking at the packing list for our Birth Center & tennis ball was on there for that exact reason. I def plan to take one...

    We actually do a mix of toys here... The ones that make noise (as obnoxious as they can be) do have points in their favour, as long as that's not all the baby is playing with. We don't have any of them for books though. Books are real ones like you mentioned. We both love to read & its very important to us.

    Great recommendations on the ages thing.. In addition to that, they put the age limits (on the books themselves) for popups way younger than I will do... They get tore up way too easily. I've never had a prob with Kalila sticking them in her mouth once she was "old enough" but they end up in pieces still and that's just not gonna work.

    Btw I grew up with "catty" too lol.

  2. Hubby read my blog and thought that I had been saying "caddy" as in golf. He thought maybe that there was a definition that he wasn't aware of. My hubby is very intelligent, but I know that his parents must not have used many of the words he says at home much. He's been known to mispronounce things because he's only read the word.

    Funny story. We actually got into a very long conversation over how you pronounce the word "homage." Hubby said that a co-worker pronounced it like the French do (without the "h" like omage like collage). He never heard it pronounced that way only like homage similary to forage. They are both right, but truthfully I never thought of it that way before. I always used the French version when talking about a tribute or an award and the English version when revering a particular person.

  3. LOL

    I've heard (and used) it both ways too. I never really thought about it though.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!