Over the years lots of my friends have asked me for advice about how I got my kids to love reading. This came so naturally to us, that it took some thought to figure out what we might have done differently.
How to Encourage your Kids to Read
Make reading an acceptable alternative to something your kids don’t want to do
My kids gave up naps at an early age. In an act of self-preservation, I declared that reading time was an acceptable substitute for nap time. I went to the library and checked out huge stacks of picture books – fiction and non-fiction. Then I carefully doled the books out during the week so the kids would have a few new titles each day, to go with their own beloved books.
It doesn’t matter if your kids read “good” or difficult books
Then — and I think this is also key — when they began reading on their own, I endorsed anything they wanted to read. I didn’t worry if they were reading “good books” or books that had the “appropriate reading level.” In first grade my son brought home Garfield almost every week from the school library.
“Mom! It’s a cat who loves lasagna! Get it? It’s so funny!”
No, I didn’t get it. I’ve never found Garfield all that funny. But my son did, and he loved to read it, and that was enough for me.
Make a tradition of giving books to your kids
Then for Christmas every year my kids always get a book. Sometimes they might even get more than one, or even an ereader of some type. (In fact, my kids owe their ipods to my husbands quest to find the best ereader at the time. Was that ever a Christmas they remember!) But they always get a book of some type.
To some of you, this might not seem like a very exciting gift. And it might not get the biggest yelp of surprise on Christmas morning. (Except for those ipods. Literally, my kids thought they’d got something else in the ipod boxes as a joke.) But I can honestly say that at this point it’s a tradition my kids look forward to. An there’s nothing better for the end of Christmas day than to curl up with a new, good, book.
Help finding books for your kids to read
If you don’t read children’s literature yourself, it might be hard to come up with some title ideas to give your kids. Until friends started asking, it didn’t occur to me how well equipped I was to suggest books to my kids when they started reading. That’s because I’ve always loved reading books aimed at children. And when I started trying to write books for kids, I read even more.
That’s where this list comes in, a list of best books for kids. Only in this case, these aren’t books that the publishers or literary experts think are the best books. They aren’t even my favorite books. Not my favorite books from my childhood, or even my favorite books that have been more recently published. And you won’t find all the best selling books or series on here either. You’ll find some, but not all of them.
The only books on this list will be the ones my kids really loved.
So, coming up, a post series about “My Kids’ 98 Favorite Books” (and counting.)