One of my happiest early memories is of reading with my mother. She didn’t send me to kindergarten, but instead taught me to read and write at home. I specifically remember reading Alice in Wonderland with her, and it’s a memory I will always treasure. My mother instilled in me a love for reading that I thankfully I passed on to my daughters.
Children should be encouraged to read as early as possible. Parents and caregivers can do this by reading to them when they are very young and helping them learn to read as they become ready. Reading should be made exciting and fun, not just a homework chore to check off the list. Children who read regularly perform better at school, learn to broaden their imaginations, have a stronger vocabulary, and develop a life-long habit that will always serve them well.
You might consider building a library for them now, and start with the classics. It’s a Christmas gift that they will likely cherish for years to come.
Here is my list of recommended books, of various reading levels, that may get your child off to a great start in her or his love for literature:
- The Velveteen Rabbit
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
- The Little House
- The Ugly Duckling
- Alice in Wonderland
- The Pokey Little Puppy
- The Little Engine That Could
- The Boxcar Children (series)
- Black Beauty
- The Little House on the Prairie (series)
- Curious George (multiple)
- The Chronicles of Narnia (series)
- Charlotte’s Web
- Nancy Drew Mysteries (series)
- Hardy Boys Mysteries (series)
- Berenstain Bears (multiple)
- Where The Wild Things Are
- Where the Red Fern Grows
- The Indian and the Cupboard
- Good Night, Moon
- Swiss Family Robinson
- Tom Sawyer
- The Little Prince
- The Secret Garden
- The Snowy Day
- Pippi Longstocking (multiple)
- The Runaway Bunny
- Stuart Little
- Dr. Suess (multiple)
- The Borrowers
- Winnie the Pooh (multiple)
- Doctor Dolittle (multiple)
- Anne of Green Gables (series)
- Swiss Family Robinson
- The Peanuts Gang (multiple)
No doubt you can think of many other wonderful reads to add to this list! Take a moment to remember the books that stood out to you as a child. Remember how you felt as you read them, how your imagination was sparked, how excited you were when another book came out in the series. My youngest daughter and I read A Series of Unfortunate Events together, and she loved when we discussed the characters and stories. Reading together is an easy, inexpensive, and oh-so-helpful way to create a common bond with your kids.
Companies such as Usborne Books and Dover have children’s version of such classical books Little Women, Little Men, Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Aesop’s Fables, Wuthering Heights, Treasure Island and others. These titles are still being published because they are timeless in their themes, characters, storylines, locations, and morality. Introducing your children to age-appropriate classical literature will transport them to long-ago times and places and teach them more about the world, history, and human nature.
Growing up, going to the public library was so common for my family that my brothers and I were asked to be guests on a local television show to talk about the library! My daughters each received their library cards when they were very young. Books fairs and clubs were a regular part of their childhood. With the proliferation of digital readers and other tablets, it’s easy to forget the magic of going to the local library and checking out an actual book. But whether you use a digital format or a hardcover book, read to your kids and encourage them to discover the wonder of reading on their own.
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