Time to Read!

When this blog was very new I wrote here about the first time Eli let me read him a book. Prior to that glorious day books were considered by Eli to be most distasteful, much to the distress of his mother, the former elementary school teacher.

After that day it has been slow progress of a gradually lengthening attention span. Just recently he has begun wanting to hear the stories being read instead of just wanting to look at and talk about the pictures. Here are the books he is wanting to hear again, and again, and again, and again these days.

First up is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl. The day after we got this out of the library (Eli fell immediately in love with it!) the book and corresponding activities were introduced at the group speech and occupational therapy program Eli attends. Talk about perfect timing!

Eli was so excited, he didn't want me to take the time to snap the photo.

He has been enjoying listening to stories while he eats lunch, so I dug out a paper plate left over from his first birthday party. I chose foods featured in the book. Thankfully, the fact that I chose sausages that are found on the page of foods that left the poor caterpillar with a tummy ache didn’t seem to phase him!

He did a better than usual job of eating, so this is definitely an activity worth repeating.

Unfortunately he wasn’t able to be content with just pointing at each picture. Apparently the pictures must be touched  regardless of the ketchup-smeared status of his finger. (Rest assured no library books we’re damaged during this story time, but a wipey was employed a time or two.) Anyway, we interrupted reading time for a little while until fingers were clean and he had some down time sitting on the potty chair.

Oh, the joy of full-contact counting!

This following book is really special. On a whim I recently did a Facebook search for a Youth Pastor I had back in high school in the mid-eighties. I found she has a blog and had recently published a children’s book.

I emailed her and heard back from her right away. In addition she mailed Eli a copy of her book with a personalized message. How cool is that?! The story Auntie’s House deals with a young girl being cared for by her aunt for the day while her mother goes to work. We only rarely leave Eli with others and then for short periods as he has pretty intense separation anxiety. I hope this book will be a tool to help him if we ever need  to have him watched by others for more than an hour or two. (If you are into reading beautiful and thought provoking devotionals you will want to check out Dawn’s blog Dawn’s New Day. You can also purchase this book directly through her site.)

When reading this book Eli likes to knock on the door of the house on the cover before we open it. He has a thing about knocking on doors and would go around the neighborhood knocking on random doors if I let him. (The fright he’d get by having a stranger then answer the door would probably cure him of this, if I let him do it!)

An activity they often do with the kids in his therapy group is to match an object with a picture in the story book. When we read this book there is a part of the story where the little girl plays with her Auntie and all the toys brought down from the attic. Eli will scamper off when we get to this part, and it is fun to see which toy he will bring back to match to the picture. Of course, it is most often the tea pot or cup!

Pouring tea into Auntie's tea cup, complete with sound effects!

Up until now the rhyming verse that makes up this story was a bit much for Eli’s short attention span. Right before his nap today though he chose this book and had me read  it from cover to cover three times before he fell asleep.

The last two books I’ll just mention briefly, but they are getting some pretty heavy rotation around here. Freight Train by Donald Crews is simple with bold and colorful illustrations. Eli can point to the individual words of this book as I read them… not that we’re calling the local evening news about our reading two year old or anything, he’s just seen me read and point to those words so many times by now!

And last, but by no means least, is Drive by Nathan Clement. It’s a story about a truck driver who says goodbye to his sleeping little boy early in the morning to drive his semi-truck until he finally comes home at the end of the day.

Eli is especially fascinated by the scene where the daddy is saying good bye, and by the part where the daddy is drinking a cup of coffee on his lunch break. (Of course! Eli will undoubtedly be a barrista at some point in his life.) There is a page that has a car driving next to the semi that looks like our Mazda hatchback. Eli always insists on sitting on the picture of that car. This matching thing could get hard on the books if it continues as he gets bigger!

Hope you enjoyed our little literary update! If you are looking for good books for your little ones I whole-heartedly recommend these. Most can be found in the library, but if you choose to buy them through the Amazon links provided I will receive a small portion of the sale as I am participating in the Amazon Associates program.


I’m having trouble getting active links for the other books right now. I’ll update later.

Thanks for reading!


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  1. Kelley said,

    April 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    How cool! Im glad Eli is starting to love books!

  2. dawn aldrich said,

    April 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Oh Karen, my heart is overjoyed! So glad Eli enjoys readong Auntie’s House!

    • April 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Me too. I’ve been wanting to post about it as I was so touched that you sent him a copy, but I wanted to wait until he was “there”. He’s definitely there now!

  3. April 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Oh, gosh, I remember the “Ongy Piddow.” That’s what our kids called the Very Hungry Caterpillar when they were little. We read that so many times. It’s good to have children’s books that are worth re-reading. We also loved Rosemary Wells’ Max & Ruby books.

    • April 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      “Ongy Piddow”, how cute! And thanks for the recommendations. We’ll check for them at the library next time we go.

  4. Sleeping Mom said,

    April 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    What a great idea about giving him the corresponding fruits for the hungry caterpillar!

    • April 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      It was fun for making connections with the book and worked great as part of my master plan (envision tenting of the fingers) to get him to actually EAT something at lunch time other than crackers and a pouch of pureed fruit. (The ketchup also helped, as it it wont to do.)

  5. April 4, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I loved reading to my kids when they were little. They used to learn the stories by heart and “read” them along with me.

    • April 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      This is the part of parenthood I most looked forward to for the many years I was waiting to become a mother. It is such a delight!

  6. ReStitch Me said,

    April 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Reading books to your kids is one of the best things you can do together! Way to go Eli! 🙂

    • April 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      I remember reading on your blog how you would sit in the hallway at night between your kids rooms and read to them all at once when they were older than Eli is. I just love that image!

  7. Inder said,

    April 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Yay! Joe loves the Hungry Caterpillar (especially now that he has discovered COUNTING – he wants to count all of the foods!) and Freight Train (where he likes to identify the color of each railroad car) as well! Freight train started him on his obsession for tunnels, which abides to this day. Every thing we drive under, every bridge or overpass, sometimes even closely knit street trees overhead, is a “TUNNEL!!” Freight train also got him interested in building “cities!” with his blocks around his train tracks (of course, tunnels are also incorporated into these landscapes). Really, for such a simple book, it has really opened up worlds for him linguistically!

    In recent months, his interest in books has really increased, and he will now sit and listen to me tell a story to him. He is also really getting into Dr. Seuss, and recently made a joke about Hop on Pop, pointing to the prickly pear cactus in our back yard and saying “no sit on THAT!”

    A literary joke! Be still my beating heart! (Cue mother fainting in pure delight.)

    • April 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Eli is so into counting too, as long as I’m doing it and he is pointing. He often will present me with his foot for me to count his toes. And then the other one of course. I don’t know if he’s worried he might lose one or two if he isn’t vigilant that none have escaped! At the tunnel page in the book he will take a quick break to crawl through his little play tunnel if it is out. It’s so fun that he and Joe are into the same books!

      And how great that you guys are on to Dr. Seuss now. And a literary joke… that must have made your whole month!

  8. Maysem said,

    April 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I really like the idea of interactive reading. That’s a wonderful idea to ask a child to match an object in the story book. I will definitely have to pass that on! Thanks for sharing:)

    • April 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      I’m glad I can get these ideas from his speech therapists. I know all sorts of ways to interact with books for the elementary aged set, but with the little ones it is all new territory for me!

  9. April 6, 2012 at 7:25 am

    […] to read to you! You have all sorts of endearing reading behaviors, but I already wrote about them here, so I’ll just end this month’s letter with a picture of you enjoying a story with your […]

  10. April 7, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I love, love, love how you’ve combined reading with activities! I’m definitely going to try this with some of Kale’s favourite books. I haven’t introduced him to much Eric Carle, but I think the timing might be right. Like, Eli, Kale is just starting to show interest in the actual storyline.

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