Books Aren't Just For Reading
As a writer and a parent, one of my main concerns is to instill the desire to read in my children. Reading is the key to unlocking opportunities for success throughout your entire life (sorry, math and science lovers). You have to be able to read to learn all subject areas.
I think it's important to introduce books at an early age. When my twins were under a year old, I would show them books that were printed with bright colored pictures and let them turn the pages. As they got older, we visited our local library each week and I would let them pick out a book that interested them (no matter how many times Mommy had already read the same title.) I wish I had a nickel for each time I read "The Fox and the Pig".
The library visits were also used as an opportunity to show my children how to find different sources of information from the library. I showed them how to use the card catalog via computer, but the thing that fascinated them the most was the old fashioned micro film.
It was an enjoyable trip back in time as we clicked through reels from newspapers that were printed before their grandparents were married in 1968. My kids got to see what our hometown looked like decades before they were born. Yes, the experience was more than just about learning, it was quality time spent with my children. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Books are a wonderful way to create those memorable moments. Turn off the television, pick a comfortable place to sit, but try to choose a time when the kids aren't tired and hungry (and you aren't either). Spend around twenty minutes a day reading to them and make it engaging by using emotion in your voice. Point to pictures and ask them questions, such as, "What's that?" and encourage them to tell you a thing or two about it. I guarantee they'll want to pick up the same story over and over, so be patient, and read it as many times as they want. Hey, I think it's pretty darn cool that I'm an expert on foxes and pigs.
For tips on selecting the best books for your child, visit http://www.reachoutandread.org/resource-center/literacy-materials/choosing-books-for-children/