It seemed silly, but on the day my daughter was born I read to her.As she gurgled away in the hospital bassinet, I read aloud Mem Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes.
It was Fox herself whose advice was ringing through my head as I read to my hours-old baby.
“I beg you all to read superb books aloud to your children! Begin on the day they are born. I am very serious about this: at least three stories and five nursery rhymes a day, if not more, and not only at bedtime, either.” – Mem Fox.
Fox has a book called Reading Magic that talks all about the impact reading aloud to children has on their emotional and intellectual development.
Read it yourself and you’ll realise why I risked sounding like a crazy person reading to my newborn in the middle of the night in the maternity ward.
My daughter is now three-and-a-half and loves books.
We’ve moved on from picture books to easy readers designed for primary school-aged children (truth be told, I think she likes the lengthier stories because they prolong bedtime).
It’s not so much about education for us (although that’s a fortunate side effect). It’s about bonding.
In an era where screens suck so much of our attention, reading a ‘real’ book is an activity that forces you to cuddle, talk and connect.
My greatest joy now comes from seeing my daughter reading to her 10-month-old brother.
And I can hardly wait for the day my children will be reading novels written by their own mother.
– A few months ago I was asked to write this piece for a local newspaper but it never ran, so I thought I’d publish it here so it wasn’t wasted.