With National Reading Month upon us we started to wonder, when did reading start and how has it developed into what we know as such a pivotal act today? Early exposure to language, whether through reading, talking or even singing, has a profound influence on children’s learning through life, research has found. Hearing language from a TV isn’t the same, studies have found. For young children, the words have to come from a real live human.
Going back in time, the obvious answer is that reading has been around as long as man has been writing. While that is true, and the art of storytelling goes back even further, there is some historical context to the creation and evolution of books. Books have been used for multiple reasons throughout history. Looking at children’s books, one might think that they must have been around since the inception of books but that is actually not the case. In an article by C.M. Hewins in the Atlantic, we learn that the inception of children’s books was actually for those of royal decent. These books were created to teach the royals how to behave and move forward into growing up. These children’s books were translated from Latin to English and have evolved from there into books for all children in the art of growing up. Originally the idea of children reading was so they learned alphabetics, fluency and comprehension. While these ideas are still relevant to the fundamental ideas of a child’s development, studies have found that reading does not just teach these ideas alone but create the foundation for a child’s success in life. Reading to a child at an early age, the earlier the better, allows their brains to develop the root of language before they can even talk. Some might argue, that yes hearing language is important to a baby’s development of language but they don’t need books for that. This idea is highly false as studies show that hearing from a TV is just not the same and does not help a child the way talking, singing and especially reading do; the word need to come from someone there in the flesh! Our staff wanted to take a personal look at the history of our own personal favorite children’s books. See below how our “royal court” grew from their own love of reading!
Where's Waldo by Martin Handford
I have very fond memories of spending hours looking for Waldo as a little one. While I wasn’t reading, I was training my brain to study the way things look and how to spot differences. Those skills learned early on contribute to my various creative pursuits to this day. There are a lot of books I loved reading as a kid, but aesthetics and creativity are very important to me as an adult and I bet this book had a heavy hand in that.
Counting Kisses by Karen Katz
I received this book as a gift when my twins (almost 18 years old now) were born. It is a bedtime story that starts with 10 kisses on baby’s toes and works its way up to 1 last kiss on baby’s sleepy, dreamy head. It is a wonderful way to use reading and counting to incorporate love into those last moments before bed. This book remains part of my items I kept from my children’s baby years.
Tikki Tembo Retold by Arlene Mosel
The name of the protagonist and namesake of this book (Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo) was fun to shout as a class, usually giggling, sitting on the rug as our teacher read aloud to us during storytime.
Corduroy by Don Freeman
This book was one of my mom and I’s favorites when I was a kid. I enjoyed it because I loved the idea of the little bear being alive in the store wanting to be perfect for his forever home. My mom loved it too and so we chose this book to enjoy together often. My mom would always either read with me or be reading in her spare time. This really facilitated my own love of reading that I carry into today. Thanks Mom!
Miss Twiggly's Tree by Dorothea Warren Fox
There were so many books I loved as a child, and many more I loved reading with my own children! One of my favorites was Miss Twiggly’s Tree. Miss Twiggly is shy and lives in a tree (how cool is that?!). The people in town think she is odd, but when the town floods, she opens her home to help her neighbors. It’s a lovely story about learning to appreciate differences and coming together to help one another.