One of my fondest memories as a kid was when my mom would read me the Cat In The hat. We didn’t have regular story time at our house, or regular bed time stories, and so the few times that this would happen are still cherished memories for me. I want my children to be able to look back on their childhood and have to struggle to remember a night when daddy didn’t read to them. But, as there is always a but with me, I am a BIG reader. I’ve found that I am so bored with children’s books that I almost get angry reading them. They’re so overly simplistic in both their language and plot, if you can call it that, that I’d rather throw them away than read them to my children. They take the events that should comprise maybe a sentence or two at most, and turn that into a 25 page book!
Solution? Read my children adult books. Books that my wife and I enjoy. This, of course, means that my children are subject to adult subject matter, and more importantly an adult way of speaking. We don’t just discourage baby talk in our house, we outlaw the shit! I double dare someone to come into my house and call a pacifier by any of the pet names that exist. Go on, call it a binky. I’ll beat the taste out of your mouth for it. So, I like for them to be exposed to a more sophisticated style of writing, and language. Also, having a more developed and intricate plot, minus pictures, I believe makes them develop their theoretical skills and comprehension skills much quicker.
We started this a while back with the book, Lullaby. Fantastic read if you haven’t gotten to it yet. It’s a little “out there” but still grounded well enough in reality that I wouldn’t call it fantasy or science fiction. What I found through this process, is that because we’re both really engrossed in the story, we both look forward to story time an equal amount. My daughter is forced to understand slowly developed, long arching plot lines, as opposed to stories that deliver the climax and conclusion within minutes. We read one chapter per night and that’s that. A simple way to get my daily reading fix in, get story time in, ease the kids down for bed time, and not dumb down their brains. Win, win, win, win!
Give it a shot! In fact throw out the hannah Montana CD’s, turn off sesame street, Baby Einstein, and get rid of all of the kids books. Bring in some great music, some good movies, and well written novels. You’d be surprised how much your kids will enjoy it, and it gives you a common interest. It gives you yet another connection with your kids, something you can share as they get older. Oh, and on a sidenote, it helps ease you into some topics that may otherwise be hard to breach. Trust me, Lullaby will bring a LOT of subjects that are tough ones.