When I was pregnant with my first child, I listened to a literacy presentation. What stood out most was the idea that books can and do serve as comfort items for young children. I thought this was a great concept, but I have to say I was skeptical. Could a hard book with rough pages really comfort a child like a soft blanket with the scents of home? Would any toddler actually reach for a stack of cardboard over their favorite stuffed animal?
Regardless of my skepticism, I introduced books to both of my children at a very young age. I think I have been reading to them since before they were born. I have encouraged them to look at books, point to the pictures, and fill in blanks to their favorite nursery rhymes. I have to say, books do provide a great deal of comfort to both of my little guys. I find them racing to the bookshelves when I take them to an unfamiliar playroom or nursery. I can keep them content in the car for much longer if I bring just three or four of their favorite reads.
Today the theory was tested at a new level. I volunteered to watch my twin nephew’s for the day while my sister went to work. The spent a good bit of the morning calling for “mama” and looking at the assortment of toys as if they didn’t know what to do. Then, to my amazement one of them found a book that his parents had mentioned that he loved. I found him content, for the first time, in the corner reading his book, his brother looking on. I gave the other twin another book that was a known favorite. He smiled and the two sat, read their books, and then carried the books around with them for a good hour. It was so sweet.