The Joy of Children’s Books: A Peek into my Favorite

What is my favorite children’s book? Goodnight Moon…hands down!

Finding the mouse on every page was always an anticipated highlight! Was he behind the chair, on the nightstand or in a mitten? The rhyming words, the bowl full of mush, the darkening of each newly turned page…

I have many fond memories of reading as a young child and unbeknownst to me, I was forming language skills and improving my future academic performance. The mission of Reach Out and Read is to give “young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.”

At Pirate Pediatrics, we’ve adopted this mission, and we desperately desire families to bond with each other. We give books at every well visit from birth to five years of age in hopes you and your child(ren) will snuggle up and read for 15 minutes each day.

“The best opportunity to influence a child’s future is in the first five years, a critical window of rapid brain development that does not occur at any other time. Children who hear fewer words during early childhood start school developmentally behind their peers and may never catch up. When families read aloud to their young children, they can give them a better start to life.”

There are so many awesome benefits of reading with your child at different ages. Early on, reading together brings you closer, and they start picking up words and sounds, setting the stage for a lifelong love of books. As they move on to preschool and elementary school, reading boosts their vocabulary, comprehension and critical thinking skills.

But that’s not all! Reading also takes them on exciting adventures in their imagination, introducing them to new worlds and cultures. And when they become reading pros on their own, it’s like they’ve discovered a superpower – they become more confident, super-focused, and totally head over heels for learning. Here’s the icing on the cake: the book characters become their buddies, teaching them about different feelings and ways of looking at the world.

In addition to giving books at each childhood well visit, we want kids to see others reading at all stages of life. Pirate Pediatrics hosts regular Reach Out and Reach community events. We’ve had congressmen, the mayor, ECU football players and even an Olympic Gold Medalist to model the love of reading to our children. In our latest event, we hosted Reach Out and Read with Local Superheroes. Police officers, firemen, paramedics and even military came to read to the children, and we all had a blast touring their vehicles.

To further encourage reading, we’ve started a book exchange program at Pirate Pediatrics. Look for a Book Buoy in each exam room. Children of all ages are encouraged to take a book and leave a book to share with others.

I still look for the mouse in Goodnight Moon, but now I look for it with my children curled up in my lap. Reading and bonding with our children is a gift with rewards beyond measure. So, I have to ask…what is your favorite children’s book?

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