Skip to content
Advertisements

Reading Tips From A One-Year-Old

One-year-old kids are an observant lot.

How do I know? I have one of those little beings, and he’s like a sponge.

See daddy reading? I want to read! See mommy doing yoga? I want to make my head appear as if it’s coming out of my knee! Watch this!

Toddlers are basically a miniature, peanut-buttered face version of you. Don’t let them fool you into thinking they are anything less. My little guy doesn’t realize it, but I’m on to him, too. I watch him like he watches me.

And I’ve realized that he’s a treasure trove of reading tips. You might not know it, but a one-year-old can teach you a lot about reading. Can he really read, you ask? Oh, stop it with the silly questions.

Of course he can(not) read. But that doesn’t mean he’s not an excellent teacher. Here’s just a light sampling of the tips I’ve picked up from my little guy:

  1. If you don’t like a book, stop reading it—right at the moment you realize you don’t like it. Don’t forge onward. Move on to something else immediately, like a half-eaten cracker or an Elmo coloring page.
  2. Anyone who tells you that a pony can’t be a good protagonist is a liar. Total liar.
  3. Books with pictures and, preferably, stickers, are highly underrated.
  4. Skipping pages is not only preferred; it’s highly recommended. Who cares about the first four pages? Elmo’s long-winded anyway. Jump right into the middle of the book. That’s where the action is. If you’re reading Virginia Woolf, you won’t have missed much.
  5. You can never, ever read a book too many times. If you like a book, read it at least 14 times in one sitting. Better yet, have someone read it to you 14 times in one sitting. The moment the last word is read, be sure to say “again” with emphasis.
  6. E-readers aren’t all that bad, but they tend to not work as well when smeared with cheese and tomato sauce.
  7. When approaching bookshelves, pull all the books down on the floor, and sit on top of them for five seconds. Then just walk away. That’s a real crowd pleaser.
  8. Christmas books are always in season. When Santa appears in a book, always point to him, referring to him as “Ho Ho” or, alternatively, “Ho.” Be warned, though: This can bring judgmental stares during Christmas season at the mall.
  9. Books about choo choo trains are the coolest. Seriously. Tolkien really missed the mark when he created a fantasy world without choo choos. A bright red, happy-faced choo choo would’ve made Frodo’s trip much easier.
  10. Image is everything. Make sure you read a little Joyce in public. The ladies like that. (See photo.) But don’t obsess over it. That’s not cool. Just act all casual, like “Yeah, I’m reading James Joyce in a Starbucks. I’m smart, athletic, and confident enough in my manhood to read James Joyce in public. Are you intrigued, dear lady?”

As my son gets older, I’m sure I’ll pick up even more reading tips from him, and I’ll be sure to pass those along to you. In the meantime, remember that choo choos make everything better. And ponies are totally okay as story headliners.

Am I the only one, or have the kids in your life taught you something about reading…or anything else unexpected?

101 Books is now on Facebook. Connect with me and other blog readers here!

Advertisements
41 Comments Post a comment
  1. Matt #

    Great post! I wonder why Gandalf didn’t magically make a train appear for Frodo to take!

    Like

    February 3, 2012
  2. Wonderful. And love the pic. The other day my I asked my much-read-to daughter (now 10) to take her turn reading aloud Around the World in 80 Days. And she did, but clearly was skipping pages, making the characters do extraordinary things and inventing the ends of the sentences.

    She looked at me with a real gleam when the chapter was finished. It’s clear she’s known, always known (maybe even since she was one) that the person who reads the story aloud to others ALWAYS changes the words, and often manages to skip to the end of the book in a pathetic pretence that it is bed time. As you point out in your list – kids are amazing.
    nicola http://homemadekids.wordpress.com

    Like

    February 3, 2012
    • That’s hilarious. They watch us like hawks.

      Like

      February 3, 2012
  3. bba #

    I would add that it is also preferable to memorize your favorite book/parts. That way you can open the book to any page, but always be reading (aloud and at high volume) your favorite part (again and again and again and…).

    Like

    February 3, 2012
    • Great technique. I must try this one some time.

      Like

      February 3, 2012
  4. Love this! I wish I had taken out stock in Thomas the Tank Engine. I would be a millionaire by now. Who knew that a train could be so useful?! 😉

    Like

    February 3, 2012
  5. Ed #

    My youngest son still amazes me with his reading skills! Ed

    Like

    February 3, 2012
  6. I actually really struggle with #1. Right now I’m reading “The Golden Asse” because apparently I need to read old greek stuff to feel like I’m an actual reader. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what is happening. I read the words, I process them, but I can’t understand the story. I should quit and move on to something I’ll actually get some value from, but I know I won’t.

    Like

    February 3, 2012
  7. I was read to every night as a kid, The one i remember the most is the gingerbread man, I could not say gingerbread man, but along with trains, talking cookies are always a crowd pleaser

    Like

    February 3, 2012
    • Cookies are irresistable, especially if it’s a scratch and sniff book.

      Like

      February 3, 2012
  8. Your son will be disappointed that his #1 lesson does not hold true in High School AP English. Contrary to your disgust, the teacher will require that you finish Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”. Seems like that same rule falls short when you take on a project blog called “101 Books”.

    Like

    February 3, 2012
    • Yep. I can’t take his advice on #1. Still waiting for a good pony protagonist too.

      Like

      February 3, 2012
      • Come, now–have you never read _Black Beauty_? He’s a fabulous pony protagonist.

        (okay, okay. He’s a horse. But a horse is just a pony with height issues, right? Right.)

        Like

        February 18, 2012
  9. See those little ones have the wisdom..we just have to ‘see’

    Like

    February 3, 2012
  10. I’m also the parent of a one-year-old. Apparently when you are a toddler, books are a perfectly acceptable food group. Which would explain while all my son’s books have teeth marks in them. I guess our palates outgrow this once we enter the first grade.

    Like

    February 3, 2012
    • Try _Books are for Reading/Eating_. There are two corners on it that are designed to be chewed on–seriously. They’re made of the same stuff as teethers? My son, and now my daughter, love it. It’s evidently very tasty.

      Like

      February 18, 2012
  11. Patti #

    I’ve learned that a good story is a good story, regardless of the century when it was written. My son read Swiss Family Robinson when he was 9 years old, turning to the dictionary when necessary. My daughter just read Dickens for the first time in 7th grade and loved it.

    And after years of reading aloud to them, I’ve also been pleased to find that they both have great attention spans and ability to listen not only to stories, but also spoken directions.

    Like

    February 3, 2012
  12. Karen #

    #5 is my favourite! I can read our Sandra Boynton collection with my eyes closed…though now my almost-3 year old “reads” them to me. It’s the best.

    Like

    February 3, 2012
    • Yep. He knows a couple of choo choo books by heart, I think. Even though he can’t quite verbalize it yet.

      Like

      February 4, 2012
  13. Agreed that #5 is the best! I reread books all the time and I was totally one of those kids who insisted on reading (or having read to me) the same book over and over. And I totally called out anyone who skipped words because I had the stories memorized.

    Like

    February 3, 2012
    • Haha. He’s not quite there yet, as far as calling us out, but I bet it’s not far down the line.

      Like

      February 4, 2012
  14. It’s a good idea to read book as one-year-old mind.

    Like

    February 4, 2012
  15. theveryhungrybookworm #

    I love this. My pre-school students teach me those lessons all the time! Also, to add to the list:

    Books that have moving parts or texture are far better than books with just words.

    Talking animals are by far more exciting than humans. Penguins or Dinosaurs are the best. Even better are talking monsters.

    Any Christmas book that includes reindeer MUST INCLUDE Rudolph. Otherwise, the book is trash and kids with freaking revolt. Trust me on this.

    Like

    February 5, 2012
  16. Do you think there’s some osmosis going on when he sits on the books? Sounds efficient.

    Like

    February 5, 2012
  17. thats brilliant! that’s why children’s books remain classics forever, while the adult bestseller list keeps changing every week.:)

    Like

    February 6, 2012
  18. Kim #

    Oh yeah, number 5 is spot on. I love rereading certain books, and I’m sure that came from me making my poor parents reread the same stories to me.

    Like

    February 6, 2012
  19. No child can resist books with stickers LOL…and animals and talking toys

    Like

    February 10, 2012
  20. Aaron #

    It is for reasons like this that I bought The Very Quite Cricket with the sound effect and when I read Where The Wild Things Are I inflect “Roared their terrible roars and Gnashed their Terrible Teeth”. Let’s not forget Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too from Shel Silverstein. That one is just fun to read out loud.

    Like

    April 29, 2013
  21. Here I am again! Love this post.

    My sons are older now but you and your readers bring back many fond memories of reading to them. Pat the Bunny was the earliest favorite of my boys because of the touch and feel quality of the book. It’s a classic! Truthfully, sometimes I wanted to hide it (and other books) because I had read them so many times! What a great thing though: learning at such an early age that re-reading a book can bring immense pleasure (#5)!

    You are so right that children are great observers and we model behavior for them. If they see how much we enjoy books, they will want to do the same! Research has proven this fact. I find it so very ironic when non-reading parents wonder why their children don’t enjoy reading.

    Thanks to you and your son for the great reading tips! Parents need these more and more in our increasingly technology-focused world.

    Like

    April 30, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The First 40: A Look Back | 101 Books
  2. How Fast Do You Read? Find Out. | 101 Books
  3. How To Know If You’re A Book Snob | 101 Books
  4. Repost: Reading Tips From A One-Year-Old | 101 Books
  5. How Do You Decide What Your Kids Read? | 101 Books
  6. Behind The Curtain Of 101 Books | 101 Books
  7. #3 In 2012 | 101 Books
  8. 7 Parenting Lessons From Literature | 101 Books
  9. My 2-Year-Old Judges Books By Their Covers | 101 Books
  10. Repost: Behind The Curtain Of 101 Books | 101 Books
  11. Fall Break Is In Effect | 101 Books
  12. My Most Popular Posts, Broken Down By Category | 101 Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: