Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You don't have to read a book perfectly to enjoy!

In the nearly 4 years I've been doing this (teaching workshops, classes, and performing signing story times) I get asked this question quite a bit... "How can I get my child to sit and look at me when I read and sign books at home?" So, for kicks and giggles I thought I'd have hubby document for you how reading a book goes in our home with our youngest reader.... You'll find that we do not go page by page, or line by line and there's a reason for that - my goal is to engage the kids in the book - talk about the things of interest to them. There are times where I've had a goal in mind as I'm sharing a story on YouTube (as we did recently with "Barnyard Dance" but that was the exception to the rule)

Here, Owen had come over as he does just about every day and handed me a book... usually it is one with dinosaurs or vehicles of some kind because those are his 2 passions in life as a 2 year old - isn't it for most little boys that are 2?? And, as much as my former OCD personality wants to creep back in and read the book from cover to cover, I've learned to let go and enjoy reading in the style that my little one wants at this tender age. If I were to force him to sit and listen to each page while in my lap he would probably deter from the daily ritual of bringing me a book to cuddle up and spend some quality time together. Reading is something our children tend to be on opposite ends of the spectrum when discerning how they feel about it - they love it or hate it - and I want my kids to love it the way I loved to read growing up. Signing is one way that I've learned to engage them and get them thinking about what's going on in the book and create a fun learning experience that is much more than me just "reading" aloud to them.

Shoot, I just realized that although we have the LIBRARY on our Summer Bucket List that we don't have "quiet reading time" on there or "read one book a day" but that's okey, as long as the kids are enjoying their reading and want to read we won't stick to any rigid rules like that - afterall we've been known to sit at the local book store and read 5 or 6 books to kill some time before the next adventure. Although the child development experts say 30 minutes a day of reading is what you want to aim for, looking at your time spent reading over the course of a week provides a more realistic measure.

If you can't make it to one of my signing story times, you'll want to get the tips I share in a previous blog post in Nourishing Baby's Brain for good story telling know-how. AND if I might implore you - share this blog with your friends - I've just got to have an audience to bother posting these 3 wonderful books in signing story time fashion:
1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See?
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
3. Good Night Moon

These will provide you with great resources to go back to and not only read with your child, but build your signing vocabulary at the touch of a button... now that's service!

Joann Woolley is owner and instructor of Sign4Baby in San Diego teaching parents how to communicate with their pre-verbal baby using American Sign Language. With her in depth knowledge of ASL as her first language she takes you beyond just the basics in signing, also filling your parenting tool belt with parenting tips and tricks coupled with signing as a great boundary teaching tool for toddlers. Want to know which signs most parents start with but gets them stuck in the mud? I'll send you that hundred dollar tip for FREE.


  1. Cute video! Reminds me how precious that age is. And I love all three of those books you listed. Just read Brown Bear to my kids last night. They are 3 & almost 5 and still love it!

  2. I'm your newest follower, we do a little signing mostly at meal time for "more" and "all done"!
    Come by and visit my blog at
    Kaeli’s Kiwis Reviews and Giveaways