As a children’s board book company, we at Baby Ventures know firsthand of the pure joy (and lifelong benefits) of raising little bookworms. We believe that early learning is the cornerstone of a thriving childhood and that it’s never too early to start reading to young children to expand their worldview. So we were thrilled to discover Bookroo, a fellow mom-inspired company that helps parents build their children’s book collections in an exciting way through monthly book deliveries. Offering both board book and picture book packages, Bookroo helps parents discover new books and authors beyond the classics by carefully selecting “hidden gems” that are not easily found in stores or online.
We recently had the pleasure of speaking with the co-founders of Bookroo—three sisters-in-law brought together by their husbands and love of reading—about the benefits of early learning, how parents can foster a love of reading in their own children and more.
Bookroo was founded on your and your children’s love of reading. Can you tell us more about how you’ve fostered literary love in your little ones, and how you keep it going as they get older?
We definitely believe in starting early! As your children grow, you can see them take more and more interest in the books. So one way we foster a love for reading in our own little ones is through setting a routine of reading often—during the day and at bedtime. Reading has become a favorite part of our bedtime routine. If we are ever out and about and don’t have time for books at night, our kiddos are so sad! I think this is because we have always chosen to portray books as a kind of treat at the end of the day and something really fun we do together as a family. Even though it’s a special part of our bedtime routine, we also read to them throughout the week. This year, in preschool, we’re focusing each week on a letter, and with each letter we pull out all the books containing that letter and read them throughout the week. It has been a fun way to incorporate books and to learn the letters.
Bookroo is unique in that you select “hidden gems,” not necessarily the classics, to send to children. What was the impetus behind this approach, and what have some of your children’s favorite hidden gems been?
We started Bookroo with the purpose of helping parents find hidden gems because of our own experience with trying to find the best books for our kids. When one of our co-founders, Tiffany, had her first baby boy in NYC, she bought him five of the “classics,” such as Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We remembered thinking, “Five books for a newborn? That’s a lot!” But then she and her husband started reading the books to their baby every day…And re-reading them….And re-reading them. And it didn’t take long to realize they needed more books!
But it was harder to grow their library than Tiffany thought. There weren’t as many bookstores as she had expected in easy walking distance, nor was a trip to a bookstore with a munchkin in tow always as idyllic as anticipated. Turning to online sources, she found it time-intensive to sift through the plethora of children’s books available, and even after finding something she thought her son might like, she always felt like hitting the buy button was still a little bit of a gamble. She realized that there had to be a better way to build her son’s library without such hassle, yet still be sure to get really great books!
Teaming up with her sisters-in-law Jane and Rebecca, the three of us set out to build Bookroo to meet exactly this need:
…to make it convenient for parents and magical for kids to fall in love with reading and grow their book collections!
How do you find books/authors that parents may not have otherwise found?
We spend quite a bit of our time doing research and reading a lot of book samples. We also have authors reach out to us about their books. Once we find samples we’re happy with, we send those books through our extensive review process. A panel of 12 families attending Stanford University and their combined 22 kids rate each book on a 7 point scale and on its re-readability. Books that emerge as clear winners are sent out in our Bookroo boxes. For more details on the review process, check out our Bookroo Review Process.
Studies increasingly show how critical early learning and literacy is to a child’s mental and emotional growth, even before they are able to read on their own. What are some of the most important benefits of early reading?
Reading “provides one of the most enriching and complex brain activities available in life.” Among the noteworthy benefits:
- Reading to children literally turns on brain cells.
- Reading to children expands their imaginations and their understanding of the world.
- Reading to newborns not only increases their vocabulary but also improves their mathematical skills.
- Reading to children before they begin preschool helps them perform better in all aspects of formal education.
- Reading to children helps them learn to be readers themselves.
What advice or creative ideas can you share with parents to foster a love of reading in their children early on?
The best advice we can give is to find what works for you and your children. It may take trying different ideas and methods, but it’s worth it. Here are a few things we suggest:
- Create a tradition around reading. We have many holiday books that we bring out and read around each holiday.
- Add reading to your routine—kids thrive through repetition and consistency. We created some free printables to help you start your own routine, which you can find here.
- Set goals with your children. Jane read 500 books in first grade because she and her mom set that goal for her—she did it, and your child could do it, too!
- Keep a record of all the books they’ve read, so they realize what an accomplishment each book is. We created the Bookroo Reading App for just that reason!
- Be an example—let your children see you reading. Show them how important it is to you.
- Plan a family read-a-thon, complete with yummy treats and cozy reading spots!
- Keep books out and in places your kids can reach them. When we see books and have them around, we’re more likely to read!