Babies and the Bookness of Books
Guest blog as written for ‘Reading Fictions’.
We know how important it is for babies, even very small ones, to be read to by parents or carers, snuggled safely in their arms but I am passionate about babies also having the opportunity to explore books on their own. Children will learn through their own explorations that books have pages which can be turned backwards and forwards, that they have images which are interesting and colourful and eventually, if books are held in a certain way, that images can look the ‘right’ way up and may even follow in a meaningful sequence. Playing with such fascinating physical objects as books allows children not only to become familiar with the ‘bookness’ of books (my term) but also to learn more about the world about them through their bodies and senses. This playfulness and exploration is part of the natural process involved in fundamental general learning which all normally developing children gain in the first 3 years of their lives and which is the basis for all later skills (Every Child Can Learn by Katrin Stroh, et al, Sage 2008).