Friday, July 18, 2008

Read to Your Child! (And to Yourself)

Jennifer has always been a great one for reading and she has read to her children almost daily for all of their lives. As a result of her reading to him, Adam quickly taught himself to read at age three. He just watched her and it came naturally for him. Now he is also a compulsive reader. If Jenn wants him to learn anything, all she has to do is set a book about the subject on the table and he can't help himself. Usually he'd rather read than eat in fact!

Adam at the concert ~ reading of course!

It's getting dark and he's still reading...
The other night, Jenn was babysitting Jon and Karla's girls and we caught her reading to them. It was about ten at night and they loved it - here's Liz, Emma and Madi with Jenn.

Laura Bush's Family Favorites

This list represents only a sampling of the many excellent books for children, young adults, and families. For more suggestions ask the librarians and teachers at your school or at your public library

(Debbie's note: I have made a few comments in red by the listings of some of my favorites - it's a pretty good list but I'd love to hear your favorites too. If you comment, I will compile a favorites list from my blog readers' experience).

Family Reading

To be read aloud as a family. These titles are also good for independent readers.

  • Charlotte's Web, E.B. White (Probably the first time I ever cried from reading a book)
  • Hank the Cowdog (series,) John R. Erickson
  • Little House on the Prairie (series), Laura Ingalls Wilder (I still enjoy these - how fun to see the pioneer settlers through the eyes of a child who lived it)
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (You've got to love all the girls' very different personalities)
  • Old Yeller, Fred Gipson (Still crying...)
  • The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
  • The People Could Fly, Virginia Hamilton
  • Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
  • Winnie the Pooh (series), A. A. Milne (My aunt Betty gave this series to my kids and the issues were well-worn. I especially enjoyed the verses from When We Were Very Young)

Books to Read to and with Young Children

These titles are also good for early independent readers and those children just learning to read.

Bedtime favorites and Lap-time reading:

  • Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown (My note: it looks like a very simple, silly book but the little ones LOVE it!)
  • Babar (series), Laurent De Brunhoff
  • Carlo Likes Reading, Jessica Spanyol
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog (series), Norman Bridwell (Another favorite of the kids before it was a cartoon on TV)
  • Corduroy, Don Freeman (Probably my favorite on this list - I have good memories of Jordan - first grandchild - and I reading over and over. I sent one to Japan so he would remember me when he was still very small)
  • Frances the Badger (series), Russell Hoban
  • Hop on Pop, and others by Dr. Seuss (Dr. Seuss is magical! The Foot Book is one of the best for very little ones)
  • Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey
  • Mother Goose Rhymes
  • Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, Tomie De Paola
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Simms Taback (I have to sing this one when I read it to them)
  • Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak (Every parent can relate to this one - sometimes kids are WILD and they have great imaginations)
  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People's Ears, Verna Aardema
  • Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, Richard Scarry
  • Cuadros de familia/ Family Pictures, Carmen Lomas Garza
  • Curious George, H.A. Rey (The movies can never be as good as the book)
  • Frog and Toad (series), Arnold Lobel
  • George and Martha (series), James Marshall
  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake, Laura Joffee Numeroff (I actually prefer If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)
  • Little Bear (series), Else Holmelund Minarik
  • Magda's Tortillas, Becky Chavarria-Chairez
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria, Peggy Rathmann
  • Sarah's Flag for Texas, Jane Alexander Knapik
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, William Steig
  • The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
  • Tomas and the Library Lady, Pat Mora
  • Amazing Grace, Mary Hoffman

Books for Intermediate and Independent Readers

  • Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Love that Dog, Sharon Cheech
  • A Year Down Yonder, Richard Peck
  • Because of Winn Dixie, Kate DiCamillo
  • Adaline Falling Star, Mary Pope Osborne
  • Joey Pigza Loses Control, Jack Gantos
  • Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson
  • Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson (A winner my mom/my kids' teacher had them read or maybe read to them - she believed even junior high kids love to be read to, and it's true)
  • Miracle's Boys, Jacqueline Woodson
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein (Jon received this one as a gift and enjoyed it as a child)
  • Homeless Bird, Gloria Whelan
  • James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia Maclachlan (Hallmark recognized this great story and created a great movie)
  • Ramona (series), Beverly Cleary
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle
  • My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George
  • Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt (My kids were introduced to this one by their teacher/grandmother and we all enjoyed it)

Special Comfort Books

  • What Have You Lost, Naomi Shihab Nye and Michael Nye
  • The Story about Ping, Marjorie Flack
  • The Tenth Good Thing about Barney, Judith Viorst (Judith Viorst is probably my favorite children's author and this is good, for comfort, but I LOVE Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - as a result I think all my children memorized it. We all have days like that - even in Australia. And everyone can relate to Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday - where DOES that money go? These books are ageless!)
  • I Love You, Little One, Nancy Tafuri

Recommended Reading for Adults

  • Ship of Fools; The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, Katherine Anne Porter
  • The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • Music for Chameleons, Truman Capote
  • Goodbye to a River, John Graves
  • Mornings on Horseback, David McCullough; and other biographies
  • Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo A. Anaya
  • My Antonia; Death Comes to the Archbishop, Willa Cather
  • All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
  • Stephenie Meyer series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn - Young Adult section but all ages can enjoy it together) and The Host (You can write best sellers without sex or profanity)

1 comment:

  1. Abby has read many of these. When we started reading chapter books with her (she was 4 and had a newborn sister, and we needed something we could do at home), we started with the Little House Series. I didn't know if she'd have the attention span for it at 4, but she did. It captivated her for months as we worked our way through the series. Some "Little House" trivia: Laura and Almonzo settled on a farm about 30 miles from here when Rose was a baby and lived here their whole lives. So we took her to Laura's house and museum as soon as we finished the series.

    I would add that the American Girl books are fantastic for girls. Abby has learned much about American history through those books.

    And our all-time favortie (mine and Abby's) is "Anne of Green Gables."

    Yes ... my daughter is a reader too :-)


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