Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Discovering The Joy Of Reading (Plus A Giveaway)!

“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.” 
 ~ Anthony Trollope

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” 
 ~ Dr. Seuss

My fondest childhood memories revolve around the love of reading, writing and story-telling my parents shared with me. This passion for words and expression meant there were books everywhere in our house, librettos were read before going to an opera, deeply personal diaries were kept and long, detailed stories were told before bed. Now that I am a mother myself, I am doing my best to create this love of reading and story telling with my own kids.

We've read to our children from day one, kept books everywhere from our cars to our bathrooms, and let our children see us reading books for enjoyment. In our home our children know that books are important. We inscribe them with the kids' names, who the book was from and what occasion the book was given for. This year I started using these personalized, vintage bookplates from Oiseaux in the children's favorite books. When we read aloud we try to make it exciting, using different voices, hushed whispers and lots of expression. As children's book author, Mem Fox, says, 

"When I say to a parent, 'read to a child', I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.” 

Short words, simple stories and repetition helps kids
build confidence in their reading.
We never have tried to teach our children to read. Rather, we have tried to impart a love for books and what they offer. Because we laid this foundation, when I brought home a box of Bob Books about 4 months ago and asked my 4 1/2-year old son if he wanted to try and read the books on his own, he dove right in. 

To my amazement, this boy who deeply loves books, but who had never even tried to read on his own, was reading these books within minutes. The look on his face when he realized this was priceless!

For Christmas he got lots of cool gifts, but the one he's enjoyed most so far are his set of the next level of Bob Books. He's figuring out words he's never seen before, understanding simple stories and totally encouraged to try more. He's even ventured into reading some of his regular books and is making his way through some of the simpler Dr. Seuss stories.

I would never recommend pushing a child to read before they're ready. Like anything else with early childhood, pushing too soon can often backfire. I merely offered the books and was available whenever he wanted to try. But because of the way they're designed, he felt successful right off the bat. I think it's our son's passion for really wanting to read, coupled with his excitement to be doing something before his sister, that has spurred him on. And it is absolutely this amazing series of books that has given him the confidence to say "I can read"! That's him, below, reading one of the new books, "O.K., Kids". (if you can't see the video, please use this link to it on YouTube).

I hadn't heard of Bob Books until stumbling upon them via a connection on Twitter, but since having such success with them I have told everyone I know how well they work and how much both my children love them. As with just about everything else in my life, that means I also share it on my blog with you! But even better than just telling you about how well they work, this post is a chance for you to win a set of Bob Books Set 1. These books make a great gift or, if your child is too young to start, win them and keep them until the time is right!

Winning is simple. All you need to do is leave a comment below and tell me what the first book is that you remember reading. I will pick a winner at random (thank you, on Monday, January 9th at noon, PST. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can notify you if you win! 

If you want to check out more about Bob Books, you can review their website, check out their Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Thanks for reading (literally)!
The Twin Coach
Bob Books has provided one set of their books for this giveaway, but I was not compensated in any other way for this review. I only review products and books I truly use and love. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

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