We are literary lovers, and rightfully so surrounded by all the awesomeness that is our orange shelves. We are passionate about reading – obviously. The question sometimes posed to us is “How do I get the young people in my life to enjoy reading as much as I do?” or “My kid doesn’t like to read, how do I get them off their smart phone?” Naturally we have an answer, one that may surprise you, it is a two-part answer.
First, we ask parents what THEY liked to read as a child, what was YOUR favorite book as a kid?
It is amazing to see how an adult’s face will light up when remembering a treasured childhood story. So we answer “read that story to them, your enthusiasm will naturally be shared.” It’s all about liking what you read. That brings us to the second part of our answer – let them read what they want.
Now, of course that comes with what is appropriate for your child and what they are capable of understanding. Within those perimeters there are literally thousands of kids books available to young readers. The point is to get them hooked, draw them in, engage their interest and the reading will follow. It doesn’t honestly matter if they are reading comic books, Captain Underpants or Walter the Farting Dog, if they enjoy what they are reading they will keep reading – guaranteed. Have faith in your child’s brain, it’s learning capacity and language expansion skills are fully engaged. Your little ones will get better at reading the more they do it. The best solution is to get them to want to do it!
We suggest starting with getting copies of books YOU loved (cough-fromBookmans-cough). Your story telling will be much better and it’s an experience you can truly share. Our tip? Don’t be afraid to let them choose a book. After all, they have their own interests and preferences too – and for ease of learning and ‘reading’, there are a plethora of audio books out there for all ages. The kids in my neighborhood growing up would come over to work puzzles and listen to kid’s audio books. It was incredibly relaxing and a way to ‘read’ to your kids while you make dinner and do the laundry and the best part is that you are listening together. Some of the most talented voice actors in the business give life to children’s’ books and you just might be surprised how much you like these stories as well.
Here are a few recommends from us but we know you have your own memories to share, so here’s just a few suggestions to get you started:
Remember the Muppets? How we loved them, and devoured all of the books! Read The Muppets Take Manhattan to your kids and then introduce them to Jim Henson’s lovable puppets. Classics and Little Golden Books are always engaging.
Who remembers The Sesame Street Little Theater in The Four Seasons? A play within a book, it stars all of your favorite Sesame Street characters, has lively illustrations and is still funny to this day.
For older children check out one of our chapter books series like Dear Dumb Diary by Jim Benton. In Can Adults Become Human in diary no. 5. of Dear Dumb Diary the main character, Jaime, gives us her unique take on the world of adults. I recall reading these books to my daughter and having to stop due to choking laughter. The wry wit, sardonic humor and hilarious illustrations will leave both you and your kids in stitches.
Last but not least on our book list is the infamous Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. Destined to become classics, these irreverent stories are sure to entertain your little readers and keep them wanting more.
For audio book recommends, we can’t say enough good about Leon and the Champion Chip by Allen Kurzweil. This brilliantly written story is given life by voice actor Matt Labyorteaux. We also recommend King Dork Approximately by Frank Portman and read by Lincoln Hoppe.
No matter what books you read to your kids, remember that it’s the experience that is important. Grab this opportunity to engage your child in the boundless world of books for a lifetime of imagination and learning. Remember that almost all of our stores host story time monthly, check out our events calendar to bring them in for a good time and an intro to some new books to get hooked on.