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Friday, May 15, 2009

Growing a bookling

I have been reading to Stardust ever since he was a month old.

It started off as a good way to pass the time with him whilst teaching him to listen to sounds. I'm not the sort of mother who can hold a one-sided conversation all day long for I would certainly run out of things to say. So, I dug out some old children's books to read to him. Now, after more than a year, reading has become a habit.

Since then, Stardust has built up his own little collection of board books and cloth books. He has a few hardcover paper books on his shelf as well, but he is much too young to handle those carefully at the moment. He loves reading, and will sit quietly looking at a book on his own.

I realised that I should probably try to introduce him to a second language soon, before his language centres develop fully. Unfortunately, despite ten years of schooling, I can barely speak or read a single word of Mandarin Chinese. Isn't that appalling?

What is even more appalling is that, after visiting five different bookshops along the high street, I couldn't find any board books of nursery rhymes or simple songs for toddlers that were written in Mandarin. The only reading materials I could find were flashcards and assessment books - flimsy books of homework that are so popular amongst parents in Singapore. I even went to a huge bookshop in Bras Basah, and in the 3 levels of books, there was only one shelf of toddler board books. Not very good, I must say.

In the end, I decided to visit our local library - and there was an entire section dedicated to toddler board books. Hooray!

During his first visit to the library, Stardust was totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books in the library. He was so surprised, that he fell over backwards whilst looking up and up at the towering shelves, his mouth gaping.

Excitedly, he tried to pull out armfuls of books and bring them to me. He pulled out a shelf of books and stacked them in a pile. We had to spend quite a bit of time sorting out the books by call number and then returning them all back in the shelves. Stardust enthusiastically helped me replace the books, one by one.

Afterwards, I sternly explained to Stardust that he was not to pull out any more books unless I gave him permission to do so. The books were to remain on the shelves.

So, he walked around, touching the spines of the books and then pushing them all right to the back of the shelf.


I picked out a few Chinese nursery rhyme books for him, then we walked over to the English section. I let him pull out One Book Only, and together, we walked over to the children's reading corner.

There were lots of low plastic chairs and tables neatly arranged in the children's reading corner. Most of the seats were taken up by schoolkids who had come to study together and do their homework after school.

Stardust pulled out a chair for me and another one for himself, and we sat down to read. I read the book to him once, then Stardust tried reading the book back to me, pointing at the pictures and burbling along in a soft voice (we were in the library, so he was using his softest and most quiet voice).

I like it when he reads to me.


Anonymous LiLi said...

Absolutely adorable.... :)


8:25 pm  
Blogger Grumpy, M.D. said...

Kids are the good stuff in life. The rest is just space and time.

11:29 am  

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