Almost immediately after my daughter was born, I was gripped by a gnawing feeling that I had just signed up for a 400-level college course without taking any prerequisites. I knew my wife and I had a few key responsibilities — keeping the baby fed (I had little to offer there.), clothing her, swaddling her (This I was good at!) and keeping her sheltered. Oh, and I knew one other thing — I wanted to read to her from day one.
One of the lessons my parents gifted to me was the importance of reading from a young age. I was excited to share with her books that I’d loved like Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches and Other Stories, new titles I’d discovered like William Steig’s Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and beautiful new books like No, David! and Knuffle Bunny.
Of course, our weeks-old kid could barely make out the pictures, let alone the words. We were engaged in what child experts call “emergent literacy.” Which means you’re pouring a foundation on which your children’s later literacy (reading and writing) is built. You’re preparing them for life and school.
Of course, our schools are generally well-suited to build upon the reading and writing literacy learning we parents begin.
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