Last Sunday I had an interesting conversation with my friend Jenn from church about her dear firstborn son who is probably around 6 months old. At his recent doctor's appointment, the doctor asked Jenn if she were reading to Winston at least 30 minutes a day but preferably closer to an hour, broken up into short segments. Jenn said the doctor was as serious about reading with Winston and the language he'd be exposed to as he was about his eating or sleeping.
Of course, the whole conversation made me smile. It's an early elementary teacher's dream to hear that doctors are that explicit about the importance of babies and books. Sometimes I wonder if my little people have ever seen a book or heard one read when they show up at my door. I want to say, "What have you been doing for the last 6 years of your life?" I know what Winston will be doing. He'll be immersed in books and their rich language. When it's time for him to step through the doors of his first school, he'll be ready for life. If only all doctors impressed upon parents this responsibility and if only all parents listened. This might sound melodramatic, but I'm fairly certain it would revolutionize our world. For sure it would mine.
Since most likely only a chosen few are going to hear this message and embrace it with their young ones, it's all the more important that I hook 'em while they're young, even though by the time I get them they've missed some integral years of reading development. It can be done though. The way I approach books and reading had better be more than just jumping through hoops of letters and sounds. I must send the message, "Look what you've been missing out on all your life. A life with books is the luckiest life to live. Lucky you. Welcome to the club!"