Note: I’m currently a tad over six months pregnant with Peanut’s little sister, Sprout. I’m not quite on bed rest, yet, but my OB/GYN has told me to ‘take it easy’ to stave off preterm labor. Unfortunately, this means that our adventures will be a bit more sedentary this summer than they would normally be this time of year. Hopefully, we’ll be back to active adventuring this fall!
As a child, one of my favorite activities was listening to read-along stories. I’d plug in my little Fisher-Price record player, put on a record, and open my book to read along with The Lady and the Tramp, Pinocchio, or another brightly-illustrated children’s story. These books were both a great way to pass the time and a fantastic way to interest me in reading–and to help me to learn to read by myself.
About a year ago, I got Peanut a subscription to Highlights High Five, Highlights’ magazine for the preschool set. Each issue has simple poems and stories, a few visual puzzles, instructions for a kid-friendly craft or two, and usually a game or some sort of extra at the back. Highlights also offers a free audio edition of each magazine on their Web site at highlights.com/highfive.
You can download individual stories or listen to them online. I checked out a few of these and found that the narrator is easy to understand, and the editors have added some music and sound effects to flesh out the story. I haven’t tried these with Peanut yet, but I’m thinking this would be a good way to expose him to language and let him learn how to read along with a narrator (other than Mom and Dad!). I’d say that a totally blind child could still enjoy hearing the stories, and someone like Peanut who can still see, albeit poorly, should be able to follow along with the stories in the magazine to practice his print English.