Weekend links and Festival of Books

Imagine joining thousands of other book-lovers convening at a local university, all lining up to meet their favorite authors, listening to readings or purchasing books from small and large sellers alike. That’s what one morning looked like a few weeks ago as we attended The LA Times Festival of Books at USC. We watched a band playing children’s songs (I can’t get away from them!) and also bought a new book called Blue Goose. And while my toddler preferred to play lets-find-every-fountain-there-is-on-this-campus, this sort of event suits him quite well considering that he is one voracious reader.

This is one hobby that I hope my toddler will continue throughout his life, considering all the benefits I’ve already seen that reading has had on him:

  • He learns about things he otherwise hasn’t seen in person yet, whether it’s the seasons of the year (we don’t exactly have a “winter” here in Southern California) or a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly.
  • Books provide entertainment. He can easily sit by the bookcase for over an hour flipping through books.
  • Books expose him to new words. How often have you told someone, “And then I exclaimed…“? We don’t exactly go around saying words like “exclaimed” or “shuddered,” but because we read them in books, he has a storage of words that he probably wouldn’t learn just by listening to conversations.
  • He is learning how to read. This may be a bit premature to say, but I think my toddler is getting the idea of reading. He knows that “N-O” spells “no,” so imagine my surprise when he saw the letters “T-O” and he said, “That spells ‘toe’!” Okay, so it’s not exactly “toe,” it’s really “to,” but I like that he put two-and-two together and ventured that “to” sounds like “no,” just with a T. And out of the blue, he said “‘Teeth’ and ‘tail’ start with ‘T’.” So cool!

In the past, I had tossed a few books because they were ratty, torn, and so out of shape. Now I mend them instead because I realize that they’re simply often-used, well-loved books by a little guy who can’t get enough of them.

For more information on how to encourage reading in kids, below are a few links and resources:

What benefits of reading have you seen in your kids? How do you encourage your kids to read? Let us know in the comments below!

Disclosure: Amazon links are my affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Nina

Nina is a working mom to three boys—a five-year-old and toddler twins. She blogs about parenting at Sleeping Should Be Easy, where she writes everything she's learning about being mom and all its joys and challenges. She also covers topics like how kids learn and play, family life, being a working mom and life with twins. Download her free ebook, "Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom" for more tips.

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  1. says

    Thank you for the links! I believe in reading to my son every night, regardless of how busy or tired I am. At 13 months, my son is impatient, and often turns the page before I can finish reading it. This used to drive me nuts, but now I realize what’s more important: the positive associations he has with reading time. He looks forward to our trips to used bookstores, and everytime I bring out a book, even if he’s in a fussy mood, he’ll sit in my lap for story time. I hope this grows into a lifelong love of books.

  2. says

    OMG, we love the festival of books! Haven’t been since they moved to USC, but we always come home with loads of cool kids (and adult) books! Greta is starting to kind of half-read too and I swear it’s because we started taking her to the library as an infant. She loves reading and books and, to our delight, one of her first words was LIBRARY! As avid readers ourselves, we were beyond proud! :)

    • says

      Funny you say that, this is our first time going to USC for the festival, but we had gone practically every year when it was at UCLA. And wow, “library” as one of her first words? You have a little literati on your hands :)

  3. says

    How wonderful that you have a university nearby that fosters early literacy! Even if only for a morning. What a great experience for your toddler.

    My one year old has been exposed to books almost immediately after he was born. He loves taking them from wherever he is (books are in every room in our house) and he turns the pages and he now really looks at the pages. Before he just turned the page one after another. The other day I caught him smiling at the page. He was reading Pat the Bunny. That was the first time I really noticed that he was interacting with the book in a new way.

    I can’t wait for him to start recognizing words. But I’m patient, as I don’t want him growing up too fast.

    • says

      Actually this event lasted for the entire weekend—two full days! But we were only able to go for a few hours.

      That is so adorable that your little guy smiles at Pat the Bunny. I remember my toddler did that too with the Where is Your Belly Button book, particularly for one of the girls (the one with “Where is baby’s mouth?”). They get a kick out of those books!

  4. jamily5 says

    the problem is that there is not as many braille books out there. — and I can’t just go to the library and pick up a book to read to my LO. My mother got me some board books, but I have to put the braille overlays on them myself. That is a two-person job /b cc someone has to read them to me. I think that (more times than not) we will be getting recorded books for him or just make up our own stories. This will help with imagination, but not so much with recognition because there will be few few pictures. Even if we got the print book with the recorded book, we might not know when to turn the page — some don’t say. Anyway, I was going to write a post: have not done it yet on LO’s first book which is a cloth book that has the numbers 1-5 on them. They are in English, Spanish and French: Think I’ll add the Urdu in myself.
    But, at least, I can remember what is on each page.

  5. says

    I’m really looking forward to exploring these links. Thank you, and I’m glad you had such a great time at the festival of books. I’m also in SOuthern CA but had never heard of it. Perhaps next year we can go as well!

  6. says

    Great post, and i couldn’t agree more with you on the new words exposition by reading books. We have been constantly reading for them before bed, we love that magic moment. My 5 years old is now eager to read her favorite books by herself, but still can’t. Yet, she tries to figure out the letter, and tries to pronounce it. My 2.5 years old remembered the story by heart, and now every time we read Elmo’s valentine poem, she always speaks out the ending words… it’s just super cute.