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Louise’s interest in books went from one to sixty in an instant. Until recently, she had a single book that she insisted on reading every story time. The book was Doggies by Sandra Boynton.
This book was a gift from extended family who shared that one of the most fun parts of parenting is getting to enjoy watching your partner reading books with hilarious sound effects. Doggies delivers on this promise as I listened to James (and vice versa) count and bark his way up to 10 dogs reading this one single book over and over again for several months.
To be fair, Louise is obsessed with our dog. She loves to lay on the dog, pull the dog’s paws, pat the dog, tug on her ears, and our pup is generally cooperative because Louise follows it up with sharing all of her snacks and meals. So when she discovered this first book all about other doggies and said her first word (“dog!”), this book was all she wanted to hear. Over the past several months, for our own sanity, we’ve insisted on reading some other books as well, but until recent weeks, her interest in anything else was best described as “tolerating” them.
In the past few weeks leading up to her turning the big 18 (months), suddenly she’s very interested in a number of different books and is thrilled to have an extended story time before her nap, before bedtime, and occasionally throughout the day. At 18 months, Louise is getting more and more independent and she’s so proud of herself when she accomplishes something. As a result, books that let her directly engage with the pages are currently her favorites.
Louise’s current favorite books let her lift flaps to see what’s hiding behind it, use interesting textures to let her feel something unusual (or soft and furry, like dog!), or have tabs to push and pull to create motion within the pages. She is also very engaged when we read books with great sound effects. Her love of dogs has expanded to a love of various animal sounds and traffic sounds.
When Louise was born, James and I were so excited to finally get our childhood books out of storage and start reading them to her. While she’s not quite patient enough to sit through full length children’s books yet, at 18-months, Louise loves being able to directly manipulate the pages and experience shorter books through several of her senses. Knowing what kinds of books she’s interested in today and having them strategically located (aka visible!) where we spend most of our time (in the living room and in her bedroom) helps us ensure she’s getting exposure to new vocabulary, bright images, interesting textures, and expanded horizons. We look forward to continuing to foster a lifelong love of reading, even if it means reading Bedtime Peekaboo! three times in a row, twice a day for the next several weeks.
What books are your children into? I’d love any recommendations for where Louise might be headed as she continues to grow! Let me know in the comments below.