There is one thing I know for sure: books rock. I don’t care how cool the latest Kindle Fire or iPod happens to be; nothing can replace the look, feel, smell and experience of books. As our children’s lives become more twitterized, you-tubed, minecrafted and social networked, many turn their noses up at the thought of reading. In fact, EducationNews.org reports that 40% of 11 year olds aren’t reading for fun at all.
The problem with children not reading is that reading tends to correlate with development and maintenance of attention span. If children have diminished attention spans they will struggle to absorb and integrate new information and thus have problems with their academic studies
Parents: you have a much bigger role to play in that this than you may think. Reading in childhood is a partnership and a commitment. If you role model a love and passion for reading together, it will rub off. Start by reviving the good old fashioned bedtime story. And don’t stop until they get pimples.
This is Kari’s first article for GeeksRaisingGeeks! To learn more about here, please visit her bio page here. Welcome aboard, Kari!
How to Make Your Kid Love Books: My Reading Recipe for Success
Here is my reading recipe for success:
Read out loud every night before bed. No exceptions. Start when they are babies, and continue until they kick you out. Reading to your kid may seem like a chore, but it truly is a relaxing and sweet way to bond and build special memories. President Obama read the entire Harry Potter series to his girls, so being busy is no excuse. Kick off your shoes, get cozy and give them 15 or 20 minutes of your time. Once they can read on their own, take turns.
Don’t read stupid books. There are scores of books for young readers that are, well, crap. Many feature slick covers, but inside offer cheesy stories laden with poorly written, dumb characters and slang language. It is the literary equivalent of greasy fast food.
Non-fiction rocks. Check out books about space, bees, tornadoes, or holidays around the world that are concrete and teach something new. They are often the dusty, lonely spines on the shelves that are never checked out- yet shockingly are the books the kids sit riveted in bed listening to.
Make your librarian your BFF- Librarians are magicians in the lost art of reading. Engage one about books for your child’s age, and ask for a few recommendations. Encourage your child to share some of their interests; and watch the magic begin. When a librarian selects a book and effuses about how great it is- your child, tween or even teenager will read it much more readily than if you suggest it.
Top Ten Books to Turn Your Geek Into a Literary Superstar
I have taken all four of my kids through the magical journey of a childhood with books, and read nightly. In fact, my ten year old twins still insist I still read 20 minutes to each of them one-on-one, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Eighteen years and counting is a commitment! All of them cherished those nightly sojourns, and can speak quite broadly about many books we covered over the years.
Here are my top ten books or author series to take your child from kindergarten through middle school:
- Mary Pope Osborne. Start your kindergartener with the Magic Tree House series. Each story features an adventure into another culture, time period or myth. Awesome on audio.
- Peggy Parish –The Ameila Bedelia series. Her figure of speech slapstick humor is delightful to a bright geek.
- Shel Silverstein – Where the Sidewalk Ends is a must in poetry that kids love, and The Giving Tree is the most perfect story of all time.
- Roald Dahl -Author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, Dahl’s greatest achievements were his lesser known titles like BFG, the Witches and Matilda. Kids love his twisted humor.
- Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series. Founder of Poptropica, Kinney is a genius in understanding the mind of a young boy, and can get any kid who says they hate to read jamming on comic chapter books.
- Kate DiCamillo- Tales of Desperaux, Because of Winn Dixie, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane were some of my personal favorites. Gorgeously written, the stories flow like an enchanted summer night with unforgettable characters.
- Jerry Spinelli- Loser, Maniac McGee, and Stargirl are excellent for the evolving elementary geek who begins exploring peer relationships.
- Lemony Snicket’s- Series of Unfortunate Events – Clever, more dark humor and classic. The kids are told not to even open the cover, so of course they do.
- JK Rowling- Harry Potter series. Some kids are ready for Harry Potter as early as kindergarten, but most start around third grade, and shockingly can read much of it on their own. No childhood should be without the magic of Harry Potter, and I guarantee both of you will mourn closing the last pages of Book Seven and wonder what else there is to live for. Break up the reading with audio books in the car.
- Rick Riordan- the Lightning Thief, Kane Chronicles and the Last Olympians Series. Riordan is a genius in bringing the Greek and Egyptian myths to life in Indiana Jones style adventure.
You will know you have done a good job when you take your kids to see a movie version of any of these books (AFTER reading it first), and have them tell you they liked the book better. Mission accomplished.
What say you, Geeky parents? What are your favorite books to read to your kids? Let’s start a dialogue below.