Next up in my series on Investing In Motherhood is books! Is there a book your child has that you loathe reading? We all slightly nod yes. Are there books you absolutely love reading with your children? We all nod yes. Why? What do we love about them? Well, let’s find out what it might be and invest in motherhood together.
For this post we are fortunate enough to have expert Ruth Natividad help us navigate through identifiers for successful literacy time with mom and kids. Ruth is essentially an online librarian in Metro Manila. You have probably seen or heard of her phenomenal Instagram shop, Ben and Lily. It has seen dramatic growth because of the impeccable curation by Ruth. I was able to ask her a few questions and she kindly obliged with what I will call a short essay on early literacy that all parents should read!
“Let me start by doing a quick introduction of myself. The IG account @ben.and.lily is a specialty bookshop for kids – they are nicknames of my two bookworm kids, Reuben (5 yo) and Elise (20 mo). It was born out of our frustration to find good quality children’s books in local shops. What used to be an IG account to sell my kids’ pre-loved goodies has slowly evolved to become IG’s beloved bookshop for kids. We handpick classic and contemporary titles to share with fellow moms with kids 7 years old and below.
What do we look for in books?
- They are NOT based on character spin-offs from TV, movies or toy product lines (ploy of marketing!)
- They are recommended by experts and have received professional awards from Caldecott, Newberry, etc.
- They come from best-seller lists like The New York times, Amazon or Goodreads.
- They come recommended by various Instagrammers who review books or from home schoolers.
- They are written and/or illustrated by known authors – from Dr Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Leo Lionni, Eric Carle, Julia Donaldson, Sandra Boynton, Oliver Jeffers, Emily Winfield Martin, etc.
- We often judge books by the cover! Based on how catchy or interesting the title is, written description/praises on the back/flap, charming cover illustrations, etc.
- How old is the child? Age appropriateness is important. It is important to note the child’s current stages of development – physiological, psychological and mental. These are examples of the types of books that we can generally recommend at certain stages.
- Newborn: Stories/verses that are endearing for moms to read. They may be for babies’ active play time or quiet time or books about being a new parent and unconditional love
- Infant: Tactile (touch and feel, with flaps), Nursery Rhymes/Songs, Finger puppet books, primer books of simple concepts (animals, body parts, things at home)
- Toddler: Short stories with simple concepts plus lyrical/rhythmic text, usually humorous
- Pre-K: More interactive, longer stories with more complex concepts, can be humorous or emotional
2. What kinds of books does the child have? To determine what would be potentially a unique concept and presentation for the child. There would be 3 things we look for that all need to fit together.
- Topics/themes that children enjoy or need: Children often enjoy and can relate to stories that use animals that are disguised as people or characters with whom they can readily and positively identify.
- Writing/Text: Usually in lyrical or rhythmic text, fun to read, engaging, infuses rare words. Can be humorous or emotional and can touch the heart of every parent or leave children in aspiring awe.
- Illustrations: Artwork can be the most intricate or plain and simple as long as the pictures support or complement the text and/or mood of the story. The less words there are in a book, the more the pictures must convey.
Why start to read to kids at an early age?
There have been studies about benefits that reading can provide to our kids – brain development, knowledge growth, early language and literacy skills, which all can help build a stronger foundation for their school success. Reading books is such nurturing activity and what a working mom like me has discovered is reading not only develops positive associations to learning but it also has strong associations of a parent’s love to their children.
Thanks Ruth for the incredible amount of information that can help guide us to empowering ourselves and children in literacy. After identifying what matters most to us and our children we can narrow our library down. You do not need to run out and buy new books but perhaps finding those books that bring both mom and children happiness can be put in a designated place, even a memory list. As we identify these resources they can really allow us to invest in motherhood and bring more joy in the journey.
Other posts in this series:
*Bonus: I have partnered with Magformers Ph for a giveaway on my Instagram, amommabroad. Magformers Ph and I are giving away a standard 30 piece set to one lucky follower. Go over to IG for more details. You don’t even have to have children yet. This can be for a niece, nephew, grandchild, whoever! Just comment who you will play Magformers with, follow my account (amommabroad) and Magformers Ph on Instagram and FB. You must live in The Philippines. Give away ends next Tuesday March 22.