Reading with toddlers: rereading the same book over and over… and over again

Recently, we’ve been obsessing over the original Very Hungry Caterpillar book. Like, I’m not even exaggerating when I say we read it ten times last Sunday. We even got to the point where I was so sick of reading it over and over that day, that I let Bella watch YouTube videos of caterpillars turning into butterflies for an hour. Oh and guess what? Thanks to YouTube showing related videos, my toddler found… that’s right, you guessed it… a video of someone reading the Hungry Hungry Caterpillar! Yay! As if I hadn’t had enough already. And instead of me reading it ten more times I got to hear someone else read it 5 more times. At which point I was caterpillar’d out and it was bedtime for Bella. The resulting toddler meltdown was almost comical with her sobs of “I want paterpiller (caterpillar)”.

Now of course, this is not a new thing. Our trusty standby and all time favorite, The Cat in the Hat, is read so often that we’ve literally memorized it. And we’ve read The Little Red Hen so many times that the last page fell out.

But the funny thing is, I’m not even mad. Yea it may get mind numbing after a while, but toddlers learn a lot through repetition and I couldn’t be happier that story time is one of her favorite daily activities… and that she wants to spend time with ME. Just to see her wide grin when I sit and listen to her “reading” the same book back to me is worth it.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s abc

Happy Sunday! Or happy whatever-day-you-are-Reading-this! So, my daughter Bella immediately spotted this book at Barnes and Noble the other day because she’s a huge fan of the original Very Hungry Caterpillar Book and even though we have several other abc books, I bought it because I typically have a rule that I never say no to buying a book (within reason). Well we brought it home and have been going through it everyday for the last couple weeks and I have to say that I didn’t expect to like it this much.

Bella’s thoughts:

She likes the paterpiller (Caterpillar) and the letters. “It’s so funny”.

My thoughts:

I love the bright colors because it instantly draws the eye to the page and Makes it easy for a two and three year old to focus as you read through the letters. Since the book features the same Caterpillar and art work from the original book, it makes it easily recognizable and I appreciate that for Bella who loves the original book. Another thing that I love is the fact that each letter takes up most of the page. I was getting really tired of books that feature the letter and then a picture of some sort and some words because often it distracts a small child from the main point, which is the letter. But what I love most about this book is that it is all lower case letters. Most of what they read is in lower case and it is often recommended to begin there. Of course, the kids are going to learn all their letters regardless, but if I can help my daughter become a confident reader in any way, I will try.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was the height of the letters. In trying to make the letters cute and chubby, some of the letters are not tall enough. As an example, Bella is constantly confusing d and a because the tall part of the lower case d is not that tall so it looks a bit like an a and I can easily see why she keeps making that mistake.

All in all it’s adorable and engaging for a little one who’s interested in “doing letters” and learning to read.

1000 Books before Kindergarten

We recently moved and discovered that we had a library very close to the house which is of course, very awesome news. I had recently been there a few times by myself and got myself a new library card and I decided that I would bring Bella with me next time. While we were there, it came to my attention that our library is enrolled in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program. We had been doing a paper log version of this but our librarian informed us that it is a nationwide program and we could log books online and get little prizes for different milestones.

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First trip to our new library

So since Bella is showing every indication that she’s going to be a reader, I thought it would be fun to incorporate this with our paper log so we signed up with our library and started from scratch.

 

The goal is to not only create early readers, but to enjoy a positive family activity together every day.  A thousand books may seem like a lot of books, but in reality it is achievable within a few months.  Reading just 3 books a day with a child will bring you to 1000 within a year. Something I wasn’t aware of when I grabbed the paper logs from our old library is that repeating books totally counts.  I really wish I had known that earlier because there are days when Bella brings me the same book 5 and 6 times a night to read to her.  We would have been at goal last year. But that’s fine and we are loving every minute of story time.

Over the course of last week, we read and logged over 25 books and so she earned her first prize-(a library card holder and lanyard) which she was super excited about even though she doesn’t understand yet what it is.

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Mommy using Bella’s first prize to hold car keys

If you’ve read this far I thank you for joining me! Stay tuned for updates as we hit each milestone.

You can find out more about the program here.