I love reading books to my kids and like all kids, they love listening to stories.
My 5+ old boy has become quite a reader now and has designated himself a ‘special time‘ in the evening before bed, in which he finishes a book and tells me the story the next day. He feels he’s achieved something and as parents we appreciate it and silently feel proud. He has graduated to books with chapters now and throughly enjoys them – he feels he’s become as big as Mama. My 3+ munchkin is yet to learn phonics properly so he enjoys snuggling beside me while I read him a good ol’ Peppa Pig adventure!
If you are looking for tips and tricks of getting kids into a reading habit and which books to choose from the vast ocean out there, then read on for some that worked for me…
- Start reading! The kids ape everything that we do as a parent, so reading is no different. If they see us reading they will eventually pick up a book and start too. I have signed up to the belief that it’s never too early and it’s never too late to instil a good habit.
- Read to your kids whenever you can whether they are listening or not (eventually they would). For us there is no fixed time to read, because I felt that creating a reading time often leads to a compulsion and then its no more fun for them or us. I read in the afternoon, or at bedtime, between games, and while having meals. Basically whenever!
- Surround the kids room with their beloved books so that whenever they are bored or need to rest from all that monkeying around, they can pick up their favourite book and read. Even flapping through the pages of the same old book is good enough. Again, baby steps.
- If the kids are learning phonics and not independent readers yet then go with the books which have colourful illustrations and preferably have bigger fonts. This helps the child to pick up phonics and words when you use the finger as a pointer while reading.
- Attractive and funny titles of the books generally catches the attention of my 5 year old, so a book like “Wacky Wednesday”, by Dr Seuss was an instant hit even before we started reading.
- Get the books that you loved as a kid (and you know are good), because you would know so much more about it that your kids will find it fascinating. Talk about the particular book first, how you got it, what age were you, your favourite character etc. Get them involved and excited and then delve into actual reading.You never know, it might become their favourite too!
- For older kids, hand them a membership card in your neighbourhood library and let them get their own books. Give them the responsibility to find 2-3 books that they like and the rest you can choose for them. This doesn’t work for my 3 year old – he just keeps adding books to the basket and can’t keep to his limit.
- Books which send a good message or ones that teach life lessons are always worth the read. Books about helping each other, how to overcome a crisis, fear or about feelings help young kids acknowledge and deal with their range of emotions that arise from various childhood predicaments. Among others, I find Julia Donaldson books usually have good stories and illustrations.
- If you are buying books, research, research, research. Read reviews, ask friends and fellow moms about the age appropriate books. There are plenty of books available, start small, don’t get overwhelmed with the idea of making the kids a book-lover overnight. It takes time, but high-five to be on the right track!
All said and done, the end goal is to let them have fun with books. To familiarise them with the idea of reading and letting them imagine that they are part of the world that is created by the author’s words.
List of some good books we are reading – suitable for 5 year olds:
1. A Faraway Tree Adventure by Enid Blyton: There are 6 illustrated adventure short stories made into individual books. They have colourful pictures and big fonts to make reading about the all-time favourite ‘Faraway Tree’, ‘Enchanted Woods’ a delight. A good way to introduce chapter books since the stories are all about magic, different lands on top of a tree like ‘Land of Birthdays, Do-as-you-please, Goodies’.
Next year, I will be introducing my older one to ‘Secret Seven’ and ‘Famous Five’ Adventures also. There are short illustrated adventure stories available in the library and stores.
2.Katie Woo by Fran Manushkin: It’s another good book for early readers or beginners transitioning to chapter books. It’s about an American-Asian girl and her friends who learn simple life-lessons in their daily school life (like bullying, lying, jealousy, etc), how they deal with them, and move on.
Some other good reads by Fran Mushkin is Pedro. Similar story line – basically what emotional challenges a first grader faces and how he deals with them.
3.Hey Jack And Billie B Brown by Sally Rippin: The Hey Jack books are a favourite. A great series to build confidence and teaches us how to learn from our mistakes, letting things go, owning up to a mistake, dealing with trouble-makers, etc.
They are just perfect for Kindergarten 2s who are starting with little more ‘Mama kind of books’.
4.Dr Seuss Books- There is Wocket in my Pocket, Please Try to Remember the First of Octember! and similar ones.
The zany titles are catchy aren’t they?
I used to read these books to the boys since the time the boys were babies. The fun rhyming, the non-sense words, the alliterations, make these books a TREASURE. A great book to read aloud for phonics.
My 5 year old loves these books simply for the absurdity of the characters, both familiar and unfamiliar, the sheer craziness of the random creatures and the funny wordplay. A great way to encourage a kid to start reading on their own.
5.The Detective Dog By Julia Donaldson: The author and her books don’t need any introduction. All her books are a big hit in our family. We recently read ‘Detective Dog’ and we loved it!
There once was a dog with a keen sense of smell.
She was known far and wide as Detective Dog Nell.
Listing some more of her books which we love: Princess MirrorBelle and Dragon Pox, The Stickman, The Gruffalo, and Grufallo’s Child.
6.If You Give A Pig A Pancake by Laura Numeroff: A hilarious book where a kid will do anything to keep up with the demands of a little pig. One of the best-sellers and well loved by us.
7.Hannah and Sugar by Kate Berube: Another of our precious reads. It’s about how a girl conquers her fear (of dogs) in the most beautiful and subtle way. A great story to teach kids about courage, empathy, and making new friends.
8. Ramayana Stories by Om Books: A wonderfully illustrated book which tells the story of the epic Ramayana. Each chapter has been made into a book so it’s easier for the kids to grasp without being too overwhelming for them. Got ours from Crossword bookstore, India.
Thoughts? What children’s stories are you loving these days? There are so many beautiful ones!