This guide is to help people who have and work with children encourage the kids to love reading, resulting in a much higher level of literacy later in life. When we teach our children to love to read, we give them a gift that will enrich their lives as nothing else ever will. They will do better in school and enjoy a much richer, productive life.
November is National Children's Book Month, a great time of year to cuddle up with your child and read, read, read. The colors of autumn, the changes in temperature, the length of days--they all lend themselves to new vocabulary and ways to explore.
Before learning to read, a child needs to know what language sounds like. The different sounds of words, even from other languages, and the way a story is told will help your young child to acquire language. This happens especially in the first 3 years of life.
The most important thing to help a child acquire this lifelong love of reading is to set the example. Talk and read to your child, with normal words. Special pet words and silly words and phrases are okay as long as real words are also used on a regular basis and "baby" words aren't encouraged all the time.
An infant learns to love his parent's and caretaker's voice. What better way to let him hear your voice than to read to him! The infant can grasp books, chew on them, sniff them, and coo back at you. It's her way of showing you her total involvement with something that is important to the both of you. The very young infant might start with cloth and soft viny cover books. Topics for the young infant should include familiar objects such as food, clothes, pets, toys, and people.
When reading to the young child, some tips to remember are:
1. Be enthusiastic about what you are reading! Children need to see that books are something to be excited about!
2. Use eye contact to draw the children into the story. Know the story beforehand so you can look directly at them and engage them more readily.
3. Use facial expressions to show the emotions of the characters. The kids will imitate your funny antics.
4. Add puppets, fingerplays, or other interactive activities to have a more inviting storytime with the kids.
As an infant gets older, board books should be added to their library. These books help encourage one of the first steps in reading-turning the pages. Some books that might be great for the young infant and older are pictured below:
Titles might include: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle; The Big Book of Beautiful Babies by David Ellwand; all the DK Touch and Feel book; books in the Baby Einstein series including Violet's House by Julie Aigner Clark and Baby Galileo the World Around Me Sky; Usborne touchy feely books including That's Not My Puppy and That's Not My Train; and Peek-A Boo Lizzy Lou! by Lauren Attinello.
When a child is around 18 months old or so, reading is so much more interactive. They will turn the pages, point to pictures, and repeat silly repetitive phrases. Toddlers learn about feelings, growing up, and values by reading books. They love books with the surprise pictures behind the flaps. Pop up books are not recommended for this age, as most of the pop ups will be demolished in the first or second sitting!
Some flap books that would be great for the 18 month through about 3 years of age are pictured below:
Titles are: Happy Days Pooh by Sarah Willson; Tonka Look Inside Trucks by Patricia Relf; The Cat In The Hat's Great Big Flap Book by Dr. Seuss; Dinosaur Giant Match The Flaps by Julie Michaels; Peekaboo Farm by Annie Ingle; Disney's Tarzan Jungle Adventure by Liane Onish; Arthur Goes to School by Marc Brown; Teletubbies Play Hide And Seek from Ragdoll Productions; Fisher Price My Little People School Bus by Doris Tomaselli; Fisher Price Little People Cars, Truck, Planes, and Trains by Nancy L. Rindone.
Older toddlers love books about themselves and their families. They like being able to recite a predictable phrase every time it comes up. They are beginning to be able to rhyme and reason. And they are getting into the terrible twos! Some books that are great for older toddlers (2 and 3 years old) and their caretakers are pictured below:
Titles are: Red and Blue and Pooh Shapes, Too from Rocket Books, Inc.; The Cheerios Play Book by Lee Wade; The Napping House by Audrey Wood; Teeth Are Not For Biting by Elizabeth Verdick; No Biting by Karen Katz; Hands Are Not For Hitting by Martine Agassi; We're Going On A Bear Hunt by Rosen/Oxenbury; The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown; Duck In The Truck by Jez Alborough; Do's And Don'ts and The Okay Book, both by Todd Parr; Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed by Eileen Christelow; I Spy Little Book by Jean Marzollo; and Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.
As a child learns how a story works, so his skills improve. He is able to hold a book right side up, turn to the front of the book to begin, turn the pages at the right time as the story is being read, point to words when they are being read, and pick out a favorite book from among many. He likes to read the same book over and over, repeat Mother Goose rhymes by heart; look at large, clear realistic pictures; and name objects in books and magazines.
Some of the books great for older preschoolers are pictured below:
Titles are: The Usborne Book of Farmyard Tales by Heather Amery; The Wide Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner (pictured with some puppets the kids LOVE to act out the story with!); The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn; The M&M's Brand Counting Book by Barbary Barbieri McGrath; Where the Wild Things Are by Marice Sendak; Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault; How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight: by Jane Yolen & mark Teague; Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman; Fox In Sox, The Cat In The Hat, The Cat's Quizzer, Hop On Pop, and many others by Dr. Seuss; Freight Train by Donald Crews.
Seasons come and go rather quickly, and it's easy to over look the books that go along with them. I have so many seasonal books for my daycare library I can barely keep up with them. Christmas is always popular, and is a great way to teach children about different cultures. Some of the books that would be great for the different seasons are pictured below:
Some of the more popular seasonal titles might be: Clifford's First Autumn (and others) by Norman Bridwell; Animals In Winter by Henrietta Bancroft; The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis; A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; A Churchmouse Christmas by Barbara Davoll; The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg; Fluffy Bunny by Piers Harper; Gretchen Groundhog It's Your Day! by Abby Levine; and so many more!
As children get to ages 5 and 6 and early elementary age, their interests change to more make believe characters. They are beginning to recognize letters of the alphabet, write, count, and like simple informational books. Some books that this age might enjoy are pictured below:
Titles might include: The Reader's Digest Children's Atlas of the World; series of A Child's First Library of Learning; and any number of look and find books with hidden pictures; The Three Billy Goat's Gruff by Marcia Brown; Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton; Millions of Cats by Wanda Ga'g; Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina; The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg; Alexander and the terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst; and Crow Boy by Taro Yashima. There is a huge selection of fun learning to read books with most any topic to capture a child's interest.
Seven and eight year olds are beginning to read chapter books and are developing a more sophisticated style of reading. They think picture books are for babies, they like real life stories, they like jokes and off the wall humor, and want to read independently. Some books they might enjoy are Charlotte's Web, The House at Pooh Corner; The Tale of Peter Rabbit; The Wind in the Willows; Alice in Wonderland; The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky; Owl Moon by Jane Yolen; The Magic School bus series; sports blooper stories; and books from authors such as Beverly Cleary and Shel Silverstein, particularly Where The Sidewalk Ends.
Nine and ten year olds are beginning to like informational books, strange but true stories, mysteries, and the Guiness Book of World Records. Books this age might enjoy are Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume; James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl; Tuck Everylasting by Natalie Babbitt; There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar; Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary; Shoebag by Mary James; Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder; A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket; Hank the Cowdog by John Erickson; and the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling.
Eleven and twelves are beginning to like the opposite sex, series books, magazines, writing notes, talking on the phone, animal stories, sci fi stories, and stories about people a little older than themselves. Books for this age might include: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume; Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George; Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell; Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls; On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer; The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton; Park's Quest by Katherine Paterson; The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen; Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare; and series like Sweet Valley High; Dear Diary; The Boxcar Children; Bad News Ballet; and The Gymnasts.
So we have a list of books, now what? How do we encourage the children to be readers? Listed below is a basic guide on things to do that may just help your child enjoy reading.
1. Keep books readily available. In the bathroom, living room, den, by the pet's cage, near the toybox, wherever your child is, there should be books, also.
2. Take books along with you to the doctor's office, Wally World, Mickey D's, Grandma's, church, wherever you go. Offer books that relate to certain events in a child's life, such as death, divorce, a lost tooth, a new sibling, etc.
3. Choose books that your child likes and will want to read over and over.
4. Set aside a special time for reading, about 15 minutes a day and at bedtime.
5. Talk about the story as you read. Tell about the pictures, explain anything your child doesn't understand.
6. Involve everyone you can in the reading process, from older siblings to Grandma and Grandpa to childcare providers.
7. Limit T.V. time. Create a quiet place with lots of pillows or a getaway. An old bathtub or a loft is a place that's lots of fun to escape from the world into the fantasy of a good book in.
8. Help your child learn to write! Whether with magic markers and crayons or magnets on the fridge, kids learn to write and spell, which is the prelude to reading. Invented spelling is how an early writer gets his point across, and diaries are how older kids can express themselves. Thank you notes, cards, and journals are ways to help an older child write.
9. Find books with things you can do together, such as riddle and joke books, cookbooks, do it yourself, and craft books.
10. Have your child read to a younger child.
11. Start a collection. Kids can learn all sorts of facts by reading about the items they collect.
12. And of course, go to the library with your child. There is an unending list of possibilities at your local library!
Reading books and sharing your pleasure in reading a good story is a wonderful gift to give your child. Their love of books will last a lifetime, enriching their experiences unmeasurably and stretching their imaginations and dreams to soar as high as they dare!
I would like to end this guide with a very big thank you for taking the time to read it, and a poem I found that illustrates beautifully what I've been trying to say:
You may have tangible wealth untold:
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you will never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.
Thanks again, I hope you have found this to be of assistance. If you have found any errors or have any suggestions, I ask you to leave a comment on my blog at this link: