We are a book family. We have books piled on the nightstands, covering most of the surface area on the desk, I have one in my purse and one in the glove compartment of my van. My 6 year old has two stuffed into his sock drawer for safe keeping. Our library box (yes, I said box, we outgrew a bag years ago) overflows while it sits next to the couch in the living room. The baby has bathtub books, and books made especially for him to teeth on. And that’s not even counting the eight bookcases we own that are bursting at the seems. One can never have too many books, in my humble opinion.
Reading is important to us. And I’ve found that the best way to encourage reading is to provide ample opportunities. We do family read alouds at lunch, bedtime stories at night, and audio books in the car. Our kids see my husband and I reading to ourselves all the time. And because of these things, I’ve noticed some important benefits. #1 My kids are interested in words at an early age. #2 That interest motivates them to read at an early age. My 6-year-old taught himself to read when he was three, and is now reading on a fifth-grade level. My 4-year-old is reading on a first-grade level. #3 More importantly than their reading level though, is their vocabulary. As we read together, we come across words they don’t know, and we talk about them. Then they start noticing those words in other places and using them in sentences. A larger vocabulary helps them to communicate more clearly. And these are just a few reasons why reading with your kids is important. For more, check out this blog, where she goes into greater detail.
Not sure how to get started reading to your kids? It might surprise you, but not all books are created equal. And some books don’t make as good of a read aloud as others. There is a great book out there that I will highly recommend called The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Basically, his premise is that kids can listen and understand a book of greater difficulty than they can read, and why that’s important. My family has found this to be true. We’ve read some fairly “hard” books for family read alouds, such as The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc. and my kids have really enjoyed them. Keep in mind that all my kids are under the age of 7. The last half of the book is an awesome list of books, listed by “listening level” that make great read alouds for families. I promise you this book is well worth the $9.00 or less that you’ll pay for it. Check it out!
And lastly, I thought it would be fun to list each member of my family’s favorite books. Seeing what other people like to read inspires me, and gives me new titles to add to my To Read list.
Husband’s Top 5 – In no particular order
Six-Year Old’s Top 10 – In no particular order
Five-Year Old’s Top 10 – In no particular order
Three-Year Old’s Top 10 – In no particular order
My Top 16 – Because I couldn’t limit it to just 10 – In no particular order