**Post by guest blogger Gretchen Kingsley**
I was raised to love books. My mom would find me as a toddler asleep with a book fallen across my face. Though I haven’t found much time to read since Bennett was born, I wish I could hide myself away for a week to read growing stack of books on my nightstand.
Now that I have my own children, I want them to have the same love for reading. There are so many benefits of reading:
- encourages language development and help children become more articulate
- improves reading and writing skills
- promotes good listening skills
- opens minds to new places, people, and ideas
- encourages imagination
- a great source of entertainment
- a calming daily activity that can be added to a bedtime routine
and most importantly…
- a great way to spend quality time with your young child
So, from the very beginning I read to my children. While nursing Isa I always had a book on hand for my own enjoyment. I often read out loud from my own book to her. Don’t ask me to remember what I read in those sleep-deprived times but she heard bits and pieces of lots of different genres.
Chris and I also started a night-time routine with Isa when she was around 2 months old. Part of the routine was that I would read the same 3 books aloud while nursing her. As she became older we started reading to her after she was done nursing and before we put her down for the night.
Bennett has been part of this routine since he came home from the hospital. Though he sleeps through it most nights, it is one of the few times that we are together as a family without other distractions. Diapers have been changed. Kids have been fed. The phone and computer are out of sight.
Finding books for young children can be a bit difficult at times. There are SO many books available that it can be overwhelming. First and foremost, choose books that are interesting to your child. If your child doesn’t like a book, don’t push it. This is different in a schooling setting where we need to do things that we don’t always like but when reading to your child for enjoyment…make it enjoyable.
Isa goes through book spurts. She will want us to read the same book to her for weeks and then one day decides she no longer wants that book. We let her choose what she wants to read/enjoy.
If you google “books for children by age”, you will get 804,000,000 results. Here are a few of my favorite lists if you’d rather not plow through the other 803,999,997 others:
- Twaddle-free Literature by Grade Level
- 100 Best Books selected by the National Education Association in 1999
- 101 Best Classic Children’s Books
Our favorite book Out Came the Sun: A Day in Nursery Rhymes tells the story of animal friends and their day together using nursery rhymes. It is cleverly put together and the pictures are engaging to children and adults. For a couple of weeks, I was continually discovering new things in the pictures. This is a book that we come back to again and again.
You can find that book and Isa’s other favorites on my Pinterest board. I add to this list almost weekly as she continues to find new ones.
What are your favorite children’s books?