First of all, I have to say that books are way better than any TV show, movie, or video game. Even for just entertainment value alone, they’re better. They can transport you to another time and place, even into another life! They can make you laugh, cry, scared shitless, or fall in love. They’re portable, pausable, cheap or free (with a library card), free of commercials and advertisements, cordless, and they won’t ask you for your email address. When you add in all the educational benefits, such as reading and writing skills, improved vocabulary, spelling, grammar, empathy, and depending on the genre, history, geography, sciences, and every other subject known to man, I would say there’s no question of their worth and importance.
So, how do we get our children to discover this great and wonderful world of literature?
I have to admit, there’s some sort of break, or stepping stone that is or was missing between Mommy reading picture books to the little ones, and the point when they would seek out books that they actually like and have the skill to read to themselves. I don’t know if my kids just didn’t like the type of stories available in the early reader books, or if they just didn’t have the reading skills necessary yet to truly enjoy them. When reading is frustrating and feels like a chore, it’s hard to love books.
Step one is finding a book that your kid will like. This is probably the hardest step for most parents and kids. I realized that just because I liked reading it when I was their age, doesn’t mean that they will get into it. But I’ll share with you my childhood favorites along with the ones that my older kids really enjoyed.
The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls-Wilder – My mom got me the set, and I think I read them all in 3rd grade. I liked these books because they were easy to read, and I loved learning about the way people lived back in the pioneer days.
Charlotte’s Web & Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White – Beautifully written, adorably fun books personifying animals that appeal to young readers.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Just an amazing story with characters your kids will become best friends with.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Awesome adventure books for boys and girls. These books opened my eyes to the possibility of a fantasy world. By the time I was done reading these, I remember wanting to marry C.S Lewis so he could tell me stories all night long.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I have wonderful memories reading these books with my mom. We would take turn reading chapters as we laid side by side in her big cosy bed. I know she loved these books as much as I did, maybe even more!
Warriors by Erin Hunter – Autumn’s first favorite books. She would spend hours reading these books which was amazing to me after years of struggling to get her to do her daily reading requirement for school. These books are really good though. I read a few of them myself, and they remind me of Native American tribes, but they’re cats! Very cool idea. No wonder they’re so popular with both boys and girls.
Maximum Ride by James Patterson – Gabby’s first favorite books. She started reading these in 5th grade and couldn’t wait for he next one to come out so she could read it in one day! These books are full of action and the characters are mysterious, powerful and hilariously rude. Great books for teens and pre-teens.
This short list is only a few of the great books that are out there for reluctant readers to get started on. When your child finds out how awesome reading can be, they will be readers for life. So once you’ve gotten all the good books you and your kids picked out, they have to actually make time to read them. There are so many more entertaining distractions now a days then there were when I was a kid. (And I’m only 36!)
One of the ways my parents got me to want to read was with a bedtime rule. This was before most kids had TVs in their bedrooms, so it was probably a little easier for them. But we had to go to bed at 9 o’clock, and we were allowed to read ’till 10. Since we weren’t that tired yet at 9, and there was nothing else to do, we read. Though I would usually keep reading till I fell asleep, and probably strained my eyes too much trying to read in the dark after my parents told me “lights out”. It might be a little harder these days for us to get our kids to turn off all devices and pick up a book, but if we stick to our guns and make it a rule, it will work. Someday your kids will thank you for it.
Another way to help your young reader enjoy the books they want to read but might be getting stuck on, is to read with them. I know it’s easier said than done, and I don’t know how my mom found time to do it with us 4 kids. It is my goal this year to schedule 30 min. a day to read with my 10 yr old. She hasn’t found her love of books yet. She likes some of them, but she’s not in love. When you know, you know. Since she isn’t very motivated to find her true love, Momma’s gonna have to but in and help her.
Then, look out little boy… you’re next! Ha ha ha! (Too creepy? Yeah, I think I went a little too far there. Sorry about that.)
So, what are your family’s favorite books for all the young readers out there searching for something great?
2 thoughts on “Books to Inspire a Lifetime of Reading”
Love the Little House series!! My 12 year old daughter loves them also and we purchased the Martha series (Caroline’s mother), the Caroline series and the Rose Wilder series as well as the cookbook. They inspired me as a child and now are doing the same with my daughter! Great post! Tina
Thanks Tina! I didn’t know about the Martha, Caroline, and Rose Wilder series. Can’t wait to read them now. I’m so glad you liked the post!
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