reading to babies.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


i was reading a story to parker the other day.  i think it was an elmo book with a sort of zoo theme.  by that, i mean there was a monkey, a zebra, a hippo, a lion.  when i'm reading things like this to parker, i'm trying to, you know, interject some teaching moments here and there.  "the monkey!  it goes, ooh ooh aah ahh!"  the lion goes, "rooooar!"  the zebra goes... "i have stripes?"  the giraffe... well, he's got a long neck.  see parker?  here's his neck.  no sounds, just a neck.  

you know, it's darn confusing that not all animals have an accompanying sound.  here, little parker is thinking, "why you holding out on me, ma?  what sound does the zebra make!"  but some, oh a lucky some, have more than one!  a dog can pant or a dog can bark!  thanks be to the dogs!  we've got options!  take your pick, parker! 

are you like me?  with the whole teaching moments reading thing... take a book with shapes for instance.  so, we've got a red circle, a blue triangle, an orange oval, and a green square.  should i be teaching parker green or square?  blue or triangle??  ORANGE OR OVAL???  surely i shouldn't be, "now parker!  learn both the color AND the shape this very instant!  we shan't stop reading until you do!"  is there a right way?  and... perhaps the best question of all... is WHO CARES AND WHY HAS THIS EVEN CROSSED MY MIND?

now, narrating.  bear with me, this post is all over the place with the overarching theme of reading to babies.  back to narrating.  steve is hands down the greatest narrator in the history of narrators.  i'm really sorry that he's not your baby-daddy and no you can't have him.  the man is all that and more when it comes to narrations.  there's a specific voice for each character!  take berlioz the bear for instance.  the tabby who speaks up smugly, the prancing billy goat, the tired plough horse!  the voices are so spot on and, gosh, if these animals really had a voice i swear it'd come out the way steve's doing them.  have you ever read berlioz?  it's so good.  so, anyway, everyone prefers dad's reading over mom's and i don't blame them.  even parker.  he brings books to steve, plops them on his laps, and then communicates in a way that only parker can, "read this to me!"  and side note: i know i've mentioned it before, but bill peet is a reeeeal favorite in the hunt house too.  his books are amazing.  add some to your shelves if you don't have some already!

what are your favorite books for babies & kids?  how about ones with lots of narrating opportunities?  and what sound does a zebra make (especially for you, kate)?  and, seriously, orange or oval??

26 comments:

  1. Giraffes are weird. They have vocal cords but use them very little. They snort though! Does that help? And they speak in tones lower than our ears can register.

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  2. Zebras "bray"! For giraffe we make a loud chewing sound. And some others i just make up a face and a little motion.
    And yes, teach colors and shapes at the same time! Point to the color, trace your finger around the shape. Those little brains can handle more than we think I think.

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  3. @dancing branflake + @angie, i'm chewing for giraffes from now on! i can't snort or bray because i do that for horses!!

    @angie, you're right... they're way smarter than we give them credit for, i think.

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  4. Hi there, I guess living in South Africa I kinda forget that not everyone gets to experience our wildlife in their natural habitat where you would hear all the sounds they make.

    Just this past week I spent some time on a game farm where the zebras and giraffes treated the swimming pool as their watering hole. It was very awesome to be lying next to the pool and the next moment to see a couple of zebra's walk past as if you dont exist.

    Oh by the way they do bray but it is a much more high pitched than a horse...it is a little eerie when they bray right next to you.

    Happy reading...

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  5. @lisa, that story is too cool. and nope, no zebras and giraffes drinking from our pools here in massachusetts. boring!

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  6. When my daughter, Lilly was that age we read all kinds of books. One of her favorites was Giraffes Can't Dance. In our house to make a giraffe sound you would stick your neck real long up high and then make like your eating, you know yum yum yum I don't know how to type that sound lol. We did this because giraffe's like to eat leaves off of trees.
    Enjoy every moment :)

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  7. And pandas! What do panda's say? We taught our kids to say "I like bamboo."

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  8. I love this post, obviously.

    So, in the book we have...the zebra goes "clip, clop... clip, clop." I'm pretty sure this is not accurate, but it's what the book says, so I roll with it. Now when we ask what a zebra does, he makes that noise. Which is adorable and probably ruining his IQ.

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  9. I don't think it hurts to teach both at the same time, but kids develop the cognitive ability to recognize colors before shapes, so if you want to pick one, i would go with orange over oval! My favorite books are all the Sandra Boynton books. I just think she's hilarious.

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  10. My husband reads to Olivia every night. Its been their special time since Olivia was practically a newborn. He doesn't do good voices though, mostly he's just loud! I remember one morning he read The Little Blue Truck to Olivia while I tried to make up for a horrible night and shock ran through me with every "BEEP!" We still joke about that book to this day. My favorite books are books from my childhood, like A Fly Went By and Winter.

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  11. Knuffle Bunny is our favorite...but you must pronounce the K in knuffle. And Hello Goodbye Window...makes me tear up every time!!!!!

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  12. we make the zebra bray, like a horse or a donkey. all of our kids are going to get to school all confused about their zebra sounds. Good thing we live in different states.

    As for the learning, I think colors are easier than shapes (and you can incorporate them more easily on a walk). So we started with colors. Yellow bus, black truck, red fire engine...clearly you can tell we live in the city.

    Finally, our reading/teaching is usually dictated by what Behr points to. I don't follow the stories as much as I tell Behr about things on the pages he turns to. Unless I have the story memorized, he often turns the pages too fast for me to read it straight through.

    Finally, I have never ever read a Bill Peet book, the travesty!

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  13. Zebras bray. Right? At least that is what the Brown Bear book by Eric Carlisle tells me :-)

    I love all of the Eric Carlisle (?) books like Brown Bear, Hungry Caterpillar, etc. Anything with pretty illustrations! I also love the book Love You Forever.

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  14. Horses do not snort. They "nay" or as my 2.5 year old says "yee haws" LOL!

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  15. the simple fact that parker is exposed to sooooooo many books does so much good for his little brain. you have no idea! just keep doing what you're doing, mama! maybe try to focus on colors one time (and point out other things that are the same color). then, read it another time and focus on the shapes (while pointing other things with the same shape). he'll get the hang of it...and so will you! :)

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  16. i'm sorry, but how do you know he's not my baby daddy? #askhim

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  17. They'll pick up colors sooner so I'd focus on that.

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  18. When my cousin was little her parents taught her "What does a newt say?" and she would flick her tongue in and out of her lips, like a little lizard. So.damn.cute.

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  19. Child Development Pro: Teach both BUT emphasize one thing at a time. ie: look, Parker a BLUE square. oh and BLUE hat. BLUE shirts. BLUE car.

    or

    red CIRCLE, the sun looks like a yellow CIRCLE

    I'd personally focus on the colors because he'll pick that up faster (and it's a little easier to point out in other places).

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  20. @that girl can bake, I like that idea!

    @ahn, that would mean svea and parker are... sibs? but what about the arranged marriage?

    @erin bigler, i like bamboo. hahahaha.

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  21. One time I was at a zoo and I saw a giraffe and it had the. longest. tongue. ever. (periods for emphasis) so our giraffes lick each other. Yep. We're that family.

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  22. 1. I think you are referring to the elmo book that Westley got Parker for his Bday. :)

    2. In our house the giraffe smacks his mouth together like he is eating leaves from a tree. It's like a chewing with your mouth open sound. Westley loves it and it is the only animal sound he knows how to do.

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  23. Parker's a bit young, but a new favorite around our house is the book "Press Here" ...buy it, it's loads of fun. your older kiddos will have a blast reading it with him too. maybe he's not to young, I don't know, check it out. oh and colors, definitely colors...

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  24. i vote steve starts making books on tapes!

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  25. I love Beegu, Mister G loves Beegu, we ALL love Beegu. It's the sweetest story of a little lost alien (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beegu-Alexis-Deacon/dp/0099417448) with lovely illustrations and I love that it uses the female pronoun (rather than defaulting to male)

    As for teaching? Well G is still less than a year, but i've been reading John Holt's 'How Children Learn' (http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Children-Learn-Penguin-Education/dp/0140136002/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351684528&sr=1-2 ) and something about trusting children's ability to learn without stressing it (or them) rings true to me, you know?

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  26. I read an article the other day that said you should say "The square is blue" because then they can connect a color to the shape. I don't know why it works but apparently kids have a very hard time with color and its easier for them to reason this way. I found it on MSN if you want to search for it.

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(also! if you have a question, check back as i usually answer it here!)

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