One of our new favorites is The Jolly Barnyard by Annie North Bedford, pictures by Tibor Gergely. We found this at some resale shop, and it is pure gold! First, how can you go wrong with a bunch of animals in a toddler book? Second, this has got hidden lessons about what all the animals do for the farmer (the turkey really cracked my Honey and me up, the meaning was lost on Pen, but we will explain it one of these days…closer to Thanksgiving!) Third, animal sounds and the farmer’s birthday make this the jolliest barnyard book ever!
Reading expands languages, knowledge, experience, and possibilities for imagination. Pen Elaine can also recite favorite books, fill in words, and even “read” some to herself. So, I think reading also encourages memory development. Besides, reading means crawling into my lap, and I can’t get enough of that sweetness!
Reading together is an opportunity for joint attention or mutual gaze, in which we are both attending to the same point of interest at the same time. Research has shown that infants and young children actually have better memory for objects they’ve seen during joint attention, better learning, and higher brain activation (example article by Reid & Striano) than when attending to the same object independently.