Cali's Books blog

The Secret Life of Nursery Rhymes

The Secret Life of Nursery Rhymes

When you hear the phrase “nursery rhyme,” you probably think of “simple”. They’re short, and obviously, have to be able to be understood by the youngest of us. But a lot of our feelings of simplicity come from the fact that they are so familiar. But many of the rhymes hide a deep complexity. Let's look at “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” as an example...

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Deeper Look into Why Kids Love Rereading the Same Book

Deeper Look into Why Kids Love Rereading the Same Book

We recently shared an article from The Conversation about why children love to read the same book over and over again. I found the article so interesting I decided to reach out to the authors. Elisabeth and Jane replied right away (despite the time difference as they’re both in Australia) and they shared a bit of their knowledge with me. Their answers are so great, I’ve decided to share them with you in full. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!
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3 Easy Tips To Encourage Kids To Read At A Young Age

3 Easy Tips To Encourage Kids To Read At A Young Age

It is never too early to encourage kids to read. Even a toddler can have the ability to decode words. This means we want to get them started with reading at a very young age before they are actively learning to read. This only will help their reading skills come in quicker when they are truly ready.

There are 3 easy ways to help kids developing their love for books:

  1. Stock Up On Plenty Of Children's Books And Read To The Kids- You will want to stock up on children's reading books from the time they are babies until they are ready to start reading on their own. The earlier you have plenty of these books on hand and are reading to your kids, the more familiar they will be with being read to. And, as a result, they will have the desire to want to learn to read themselves if they are constantly read to.
  1. Read To The Child Several Times A Day - Don't just only read to child at bedtime. In fact, read to kids several other times in a day. The kids could associate reading with going to bed. Reading to kids several times a day will avoid that association. Besides, the more they are read to, the more they will be encouraged to learn how to read on their own.
  1. Allow The Kids To Choose The Books They Want - Ask your kids which books they want you to read to them so they can become enthusiastic about reading and story time. After all, you want your kids to develop a positive attitude about reading! And allowing them to choose the books will help.

These 3 suggested tips help to encourage kids to read, then they will develop a love for reading sooner rather than later. If you want your kids to be excited and enthusiastic about reading, these tips will help make that happen. 

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Why is it so good to expose our babies to music? Proof by magnetoencephalography!

Why is it so good to expose our babies to music?

Music and mental development of the infant: proof by magnetoencephalography!

A neuro-scientific team from Seattle was interested in the influence of music on the electromagnetic activity of the brain in the infant. A population of 36 babies aged 9 months was divided into 2 equal groups.

  1. The first group was exposed for 4 weeks to 12 sessions of music exhibition in the form of children's songs.
  2. The second group served as a witness: the babies certainly enjoyed, like the others, small games of awakening adapted to their age. On the other hand, they had no right to music.
All were regularly monitored by magneto encephalography (MEG). This advanced technique allows to measure the electromagnetic activity of a precise region of the brain, at rest or during a stimulation.

When a new sound stimulation is applied, it gives rise to a specific wave: Mismatch Response (MMD). This MMD reflects the attention and learning effort of the baby in which it is recorded. It is significantly more extensive and lasts longer among young subjects exposed to music than those in the control group. This electrical phenomenon concerns the temporal areas, privileged place of treatment of the sound information and participates in the processes of attention and learning.

With a slightly different protocol, we find it in the cerebral areas of language and prefrontal areas involved in the development of logical reasoning. Beyond musical capacities, the exposure of a 9-month-old to music seems to favor the development of language, learning abilities and the ability to reason.

The virtues of the traditional lullaby are therefore not limited to their ability to put the child to sleep, but probably contribute to his good intellectual development. The Seattle team is considering continuing the study over the long term to see if the observed benefits persist over time.

Source: T.Christina Zhao and Patricia K. Kuhl (2015) "Musical intervention enhances infants' neural processing of temporal structure in music and speech PNAS 113 (19) 5212-5217

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Interview with Robert Greenberg: Piano for kids

I contacted Robert Greenberg after reading his article on the Huffington post Bedtime Music: 10 Soothing Classical Pieces for Kids of Any Age, when we were working on our new book BEDTIME With Mozart and Other Greats.

As historian, composer, pianist and father of four, he's a strong advocate for teaching kids to play an instrument. Listening to music is very important but the practice of an instrument is crucial too. Our kids are very young and none of us are good musicians so I asked for his tips on how to introduce piano for kids and I found them super useful:

  1. Piano is a friend, the soonest you can expose your kid to the instrument is the best. It's nice that the piano is part of his natural environment before starting lessons. Young kids are very much attracted by the object and they'll use it as a game before using it as an instrument. 
  2. Buy a real piano, avoid the keyboard and invest in a second hand upright piano. I was surprised that the investment of having an upright piano in our living room is not as expensive as it was when I was a kid and it looks so much better.
  3. Don't start lessons too early, six years old is the youngest for a kid to start piano lessons. They involve discipline and daily practice, it's good to let them be kids and just have fun at the beginning.

What about your experience on teaching children instruments?

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Interview with Sandra Trehub: Why do interactive books make interactive kids?

I came across an article saying that singing is more efficient than speech at keeping infants calm and delaying the onset of crying, citing a new Canadian study. Newborns may benefit from a soothing tune, but for older babies and preschoolers it's better to choose something lively and familiar, such as "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or "Old MacDonald Had a Farm", recommends study co-author Sandra E. Trehub, PhD.

I'm very interested in this topic, so I contacted Dr Sandra E. Trehub. She replied to my email and suggested to talk before I even had time to go through her very impressive list of publications. Listening to her was fascinating and helped me to understand our books better.

Older babies and preschoolers are soothed by nursery songs like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" because the songs remind them the comforting feeling they had when they heard them from their care givers, often the mother. The soothing effect does not come from the nursery song itself but from the babies memory of hearing it and the familiar feeling associated with the song. The most important part in this process is the interaction between the caregivers and the babies. If you're not confident in your singing skills and if you want to avoid using phone or tablet, musical books help to create these precious musical moments with your little one. 

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Hello and Thank you!

mummy and baby kissing Cali's Books

Thank you for stopping by and wanting to know more about us.

I'm Cali. I started Cali's Books in 2017 to share my love of reading, singing and listening to music to my daughter Margaux.

Two years later, Margaux has a younger brother Julien and we sold 10,000 books. This is an incredibly exciting journey, I am so excited to share.

In this blog, I will discuss the highs and lows of starting a company, the great people I've met, the new places I've discovered, the research I read and my creative process... What else? I'll explore as we go.

Please tell me what you would like to read!!



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