Two Steps Behind – From Adult Collection to Self Selection

As soon as my son learnt to take his first steps, I placed his books on low height tables, spread across the house, that his little hands reached out to for support. Like many other parents I had read of course that he will get more attracted to books if he could reach out on his own. While he was never motivated to pick his books from the tables despite continuous encouragement, he started selecting a book from mumma’s bookshelf when he learnt to take more confident steps. Seeing the joy he experienced while picking that book time and again, I was quick to displace all my books and line up all his on that particular shelf.

Ever since I replaced my adult collection it has been interesting to observe the process of self selection. While initially he was attracted to green coloured books as green was his favourite colour, he soon started picking up books from Dr. Suess’ bright and early board book collection as his colour knowledge expanded. Over time I noticed that instead of picking one book at a time, he would always select collection of books from the same series.  Even when they were not placed next to each other, lining them up vertically made it easier for the eye to discern the ones similar in colours, shapes, or sizes.

Observing this process for more than a month, I also realised that his tiny hands were never attracted to bigger books, perhaps because the books are placed in an order of  big to small making it easier to access the smaller ones towards the middle and the right. I am soon going to break the adult logic of categorization and mix up bigger books with smaller ones in a random order to encourage him to read a wider variety of books. The joy that I experience every evening standing two steps behind observing how my son selects his books to read is much more than the pleasure I felt watching him take his first steps.

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