One of my favorite things about well child exams is giving out a new Reach Out and Read book. It seems like a small token, but I love seeing the look on children’s faces as I give them a brand new book and encourage reading together as a family. So when my own son went for his 6-month-old check-up, I eagerly anticipated what book his pediatrician would select for him. We had plenty of books for him at home already and had been reading with him since birth, but the message that a book as a prescription from the pediatrician sends is one that I think is important and special.
Imagine my disappointment then when my son showed no interest in books for the first year of his life. My husband and I have a combined 18 years of higher education, an entire wall of books (literally) in our living room, and a hobby of reading at our local bookstore on Saturday mornings. How can we have a child who doesn’t like books?
Then, he finally showed an interest in books and started doing the cutest thing. One at a time, he pulls each book off his bookshelf until he finds one of his 5 favorite books. That’s not the cute part though, that’s the frustrating part that I have to clean up. The cute part is that he then takes that book, walks over holding it horizontally and attempts to insert it into your mouth. I can only imagine that this is because that’s where words come from. This technique is then reinforced by us reading the book. He might be a genius.
I am thrilled that N is finally showing the passion for books that his father and I share and I know that this will only grow as he does. His early favorites are diverse, a little comedy, a little counting, and include one of his pediatrician’s Reach Out and Read selections. I can only hope that my patients enjoy the books I give them as much as N enjoys his, and I hope their parents find the same happiness that I do in watching him make his selection, feeding me the book, and then sitting in my lap to embark on a literary adventure.
1. Max’s Bedtime by Rosemary Wells
2. Happy Baby Colors by Roger Priddy
3. 123 Philadelphia by Puck
4. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See? by Martin and Carle
5. Harry the Dirty Dog by Zion and Graham