We’re especially delighted to celebrate with Deb Andries (a.k.a. Grammy) this month as she launches her newest Reading Team. Here’s how Deb describes the experience:
My heart has always felt this “explosion of love” when we’ve welcomed a grandchild into our family. I vividly remember when our grandson Parker, now 14, was born, and the pure and elevated joy I felt. It was the same “joy explosion” with Grayson and Emmy, born four days apart six years ago, and then Finley who is now four. Each of those “littles” is not little in the unconditional love they share and bring to my life.
Imagine how my heart exploded when we found out we would be welcoming twin girls into our family! Myles and Hayes, age six months in this photo, have continued to remind me that my heart grows bigger and bigger in love. I didn’t think I’d get the chance to share board books again with grandchildren. I am so glad that my stash (and both my daughters’ collections) have been added to our book basket, which has been growing since Parker’s birth!
I also love the newest additions to the book basket: Itsy Bitsy Spider (illustrated by Emily Bannister), My Favorite Book of Colors (by Janice Behrens, illustrated by Joan Michael), and Baby’s Very First Black and White Books by Stella Baggott. These Usborne “mini” books are just the right size for the girls and the black-and-white illustrations appeal to their first visions of how they see color.
While they would rather put the book in their mouth, they will also sit (sometimes), both on my lap, and listen to my reading voice as I share the brilliant photos of things they will come to know, love and name for themselves all too soon. We sing the nursery rhymes, we move our hands with actions – yep, one at a time with hand actions as I only have two hands to help them. We point to the pictures, we name them, and we read the book again and again.
Here’s something else I do to support their early literacy learning. Whenever I’m dressing them, I always start with their left hand, or their left foot, or left leg, for shirts, socks, shoes, pants, etc. Why, you ask? Because we learn to read from left to right, and if we start with that early firing of neurons to their rapidly developing brains, we will create those patterns for reading. I have also sung to all of my grandchildren as I’m dressing them. They hear nursery rhymes and songs so they can “feel” the rhythm, hear the rhyme and put up with my off-key pitch! I want them to know that these traditional rhymes, tried and true, are an important component as I nurture their love of reading.
I love time spent with all my grandchildren in reading. It might be the driver’s manual for my soon-to-be 15-year-old grandson; it might be books online with famous authors sharing their works through the COVID-19 school shutdown; it might be that stack of board books just waiting to have the pages turned by the newest “littles” in our family.
No matter what comes, we will spend time reading.
Bookology is always looking for new Reading Teams to help us celebrate the joys of reading aloud together. Contact Lisa Bullard for further information if you’re interested in participating.