But this is what I was made to do. A lovely wise woman was visiting us and our newborn bundle of joy… currently sleeping joy. Her gift – a twenty page paperback storybook.
Great… a book we will have to haul around for two years until it becomes useful.
"Daniel, read the book to your daughter."
"Ahhh… hmmm… she's sleeping," I stutter out.
"That doesn't matter."
"Babies Love Books" I say in my nervous, baby friendly voice. "Look! There's a book in my bed. 'It's lovely to meet you,' he said."
Thoughts are racing around my head questioning 'why?'
It was probably the greatest gift we received. Not the book though, but the confidence to start reading to our daughter. Even at two weeks old.
Reading has become a central feature of our home. One wall in our living area is stacked with books. It becomes a time of peace and enjoyment when we indulge in a reading time… sometimes an hour at a time. Often we find our little reading bug crouched quietly flicking through books retelling and reliving her favourite stories.
Our wish is to open up our daughters mind. Help her to go to different places, different worlds, different times. To help her learn but also to imagine and create. Let her push the boundaries of what the physical world imposes on her.
There is evidence it is working: that rock she found at orienteering holds an 'ancient fossil'; "Daddy, that car is polluting like in the 'OK, GO' book"; she runs through the walkways being a train, and pretends to swing from tree to tree; gives fascinating stories about why the moon is 'missing'…
We want our now three year old to have days filled with aesthetic experiences: have her senses operating at her peak, engaged in the current moment, resonating with excitement with the thing she is currently experiencing… feeling as if she is fully alive.
The goal is to enhance her ability for divergent thinking… to think laterally… see lots of ways to interpret a question… and see lots of possible answers to a question.
Maybe that is sounding too much like Martin Luther King's speech… but you never know when you encourage reading!
Daniel Stott is a primary school teacher on the Gold Coast and is Bible College trained.
Daniel Stott's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-stott.html