There should always be time for reading!
We shouldn’t teach great books;
we should teach a love of reading.
– B.F. Skinner
I love doing dynamic learning activities, using all different senses, textures, materials but the one thing that all of us must be doing with our children is reading. I am not talking about teaching letter recognition or phonics right now I am just talking about instilling a love of reading, and the wonderful places books can take you! After a busy week, a friendly reminder about how important turning off the tv, closing the laptop and snuggling in with a few books is exactly what I need. Here are a few books that are favorites of mine.
“Something from Nothing” by Phoebe Gilman is one of those books that you read and think oh I love it, but will kids? I am here to tell you yes! They love this old Yiddish folktale about a little boy, his very special blanket and his grandfather who made it for him. Over the years Joseph’s blanket transforms into a jacket, a vest, a tie, and handkerchief and finally a button. The story is beautiful and kids love not only the repetitive text when the grandfather is sewing but also the continuing storyline of the mice that live under the floor boards who use the scraps of material for all sorts of things. There are no goofy gimmicks, no lights or sounds just a great story and beautiful illustrations in this gem!
“Wemberly Worried” by Kevin Henkes is a favorite of mine. The author has a real talent for identifying with children’s emotions and he doesn’t skip a beat with this book. Wemberly is a little mouse who worries all the time. Everything makes her sick with worry and nothing as much as the first day of school! What I love about this book is how her parents seem so supportive and caring about her anxiety. And while it still takes a little time for Wemberly to warm up to school, it’s realistic. Also, check out the details in the illustrations, my favorite is grandma’s high top sneakers!
“The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz. You may know Karen Katz from her very popular board books. But she has written a number of great picture books too! Lena is learning about mixing colors with her artist mom when she announces that “brown is brown” her mom knows better though. On a walk around her neighborhood, she sees that all the people she knows are all different and all beautiful shades of brown. What I like about this book is that it recognizes that we are all different. Kids, especially little ones can be really confused when we tell them “We are all the same”. They don’t understand what we mean because they can SEE that we aren’t. This book celebrates the diversity while also celebrating the beauty of each color of us.
“the alphabet tree” by Leo Lionni is a stunning book and the first time I read it to a class, at the start of the Iraq conflict was rather poignant. The book is all about letters that come together to make words. Then after a caterpillar informs them that they need to say something they join together to make sentences. Up to this point, the book is a brilliant teaching tool. But for me the best part is yet to come. When the words get together they decide to say “Peace on earth goodwill toward all men”. The caterpillar then asks them to jump on his back so he can take the words to the president.
Considering it was written in 1968 it’s quite the statement. A fantastic activity to do with your child after reading this would be to ask them what they would write to the president? For younger children using letters on leaves, you could spell out easy 3 letter words like they do early on in the story. All in all a brilliant book.
What are your favorite books that you carve time for reading with your children? Comment below or share on my Facebook page!
For more quick tips on helping your child learn to read check out my book; Raising A Rock-Star Reader. It is packed with fun ideas for families, book lists, and advice for parents.
Oh wow, Something from Nothing is one of my favourite books ever! I actually have a blog post in queue about the story and how I’ve turned it into a craft for me… when I goes live, I’ll let ya know!
Wemberley is fabby too. I love kiddie books. (An asset, since I’m a children’s librarian.)
Please do remind me when that post goes up, I don’t want to miss it . Oh and I have major hero worship for children’s librarians!
oh, Something from Nothing is one my very favorite books in the whole world, too! It always reminds me of my Yiddish-speaking grandpa, who passed away when I was young. I alternate between smiles and sniffles whenever I read this book! I’ll have to check out your other book suggestions.
“The Alphabet Tree” looks great. I collect alphabet books and I love Leo Lionni…not sure how I’ve missed this great book! 🙂
Thanks for the recommendations.