Parents may sometimes feel that reading to a very young baby is a waste of time. Far from it, according to children's authors Michelle Melville and Derek Mulveen
READING with your baby at night can help foster their lifelong love of reading, according to mum of two and co-author of children's books Michelle Melville. Melville, who pens the books with her husband, Derek Mulveen, says parents should start as soon as their babies are born.
Melville and Mulveen, parents to five-year-old Mikaela and 20-month-old Matthew, juggle running their own business Eire's Kids with parenting, and say reading is a very important part of their downtime.
"From the moment Mikaela was born, I was aware that I had to make the most of my time with her. I've always read to her, even from when she was very small. Story time was very important, and it's still my favourite time of the day," says Melville.
Since writing the books, she has carried out her own research into the importance of reading. "The more research we've done, the more convinced we are of its importance. It's good to sit down with them one on one."
She says you don't have to wait until your child can talk to establish a night-time reading routine.
"Start when they're born. You wouldn't wait until a child understood what you were saying before you talked to them, so in the same way you talk to them from birth and play with them from birth you should take that time to read with them. It helps build their vocabulary, it improves their memory, and gets them prepared for school."
Melville says besides the obvious language development benefits it also creates a great bond between parent and child.
"It's important for me to keep communications open with Mikaela, so after we've relaxed reading, she will tell me if she has any worries."
Melville and Mulveen have set up their own publishing company, and their second book Oisin the Brave - Robot Island was released late last year. It follows Oisin the Brave as he travels through the Dolmen of Time across the seas and meets strange creatures including a little robot on the way. He is joined on his quest by Orane the Dragon Princess Eire, and Peistí the worm. Irish words feature throughout the book, and there's a glossary of terms at the back. It is available nationwide from Eason's and independent book stores, with a recommended retail price of €7.99. Check out EiresKids.com or facebook.com/eireskidsireland.
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