Let's have an honest mom-chat here. Sometimes I really don't feel like reading a bedtime (or quiet time or morning time) story book to my girls. Between the nagging list of housework, the never-ending emails and texts and my craft table luring me, there are times that I don't think I have time to read a book or two to my children that day. But, here's the thing - something wonderful happens when I push those "to-do's" to the back of my mind, ask my girls to climb up beside me on the couch, and reach for a colourful book. As my babies snuggle in beside me and I begin to read the words on the pages and point to the illustrations, the busyness of life slowly melts away as we're all drawn in to another world. We're off to a faraway land, we're learning about seasons, or we're saying silly rhymes. We're giggling together, and I'm asking them questions as they shake their heads in little girl wonder. The best part? We're escaping together in a cuddled-up heap on our living room couch!
I had the pleasure over the last two weeks to experience Barefoot Books with my children (my girls are 22 months and 4 years old) courtesy of my friend Jen who sells these beautiful books. If you haven't heard of them, Barefoot Books is an independent book publisher that specializes in carefully crafted children’s books, CDs, games, puppets, puzzles and gifts that celebrate enduring values and inspire creativity. These books are the cutest! Not only were my girls enraptured with the words, but the loved the beautiful artwork (and so did I). Barefoot Books have won countless awards, and I could definitely understand why after we delved into these gems.
We read three fun Barefoot Books together: "Driving My Tractor", "Skip through the Seasons" and "The Real Princess" with the latter being the favourite of the bunch. The fun thing about all of these is that they're all highly educational (focusing on seeking & finding, singing, and counting) but they hold the interest of a preschooler and a toddler.
"The Real Princess" had a storyline based on "The Princess & The Pea", but lots of numbers and counting were woven in with some beautiful illustrations and some silly sidelines. Little C loves this one (and she almost knows it off by heart already)!
Another favourite, "Skip Through the Seasons", is a fun interactive book that prompts you to find season-specific objects in its brightly illustrated pages. This one's a lot of fun to pop open to a random page for use as a quiet time game!
Have I lured you in to the world or preschool reading yet with these exciting books? Here are 5 good reasons to read to your preschooler:
- Reading to preschoolers sets the foundation for later, independent reading. Problems with reading can be challenging to fix when a child is older, but if a good foundation is laid when they're young, many reading problems can be prevented.
- Reading helps your preschooler develop a large vocabulary of words. Heck - it helps my vocabulary too and makes me mindful of the words I use when I speak to my daughters!
- Reading can help your preschooler learn core values and skills. Choose books with stories of bravery, triumph, honesty, kindess, love, patience, and more of your beliefs and values. Read to them about how to tie their shoe, how to count to 10 and how to keep their body healthy.
- Reading to your preschooler helps them learn the basics of language (like phonetics and the alphabet). Reading to them slowly as they look at the page helps them realize that words are made up of letters, and that words are made up of a combination of sounds.
- Reading helps strengthen the connection between your child and you. When you give them your undivided attention, speak to them, interact with them and cuddle them, you're reinforcing the bond you have as mommy and child!
I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read Barefoot Books to my girls over the past couple of weeks. It's honestly reignited my passion for teaching literacy to my girls through beautiful books, and reminding me how important those moments of snuggling and reading together are - even if it's only a book a day! The Barefoot Books Core Values statement says it perfectly:
At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, focusing on themes that encourage independence of spirit, enthusiasm for learning and respect for the world’s diversity. The welfare of our children is dependent on the welfare of the planet, so we source paper from sustainably managed forests and constantly strive to reduce our environmental impact. Playful, beautiful and created to last a lifetime, our products combine the best of the present with the best of the past to educate our children as the caretakers of tomorrow.
If you're interested in purchasing Barefoot Books, click here to visit their online catalogue.
Guess what? You can win some Barefoot Books to read to your own kids! To enter to win a $20 gift certificate to Barefoot Books, enter the contest using the Rafflecopter widget below! Good Luck! (Contest ends 09/30/2013.)
(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Barefoot Books and contains affiliate links. The views and opinions expressed here are purely my own.)