Raising a reader. It’s the topic on everyone’s mind these days and it’s no wonder, we want to cherish and protect childhood in a world that too often expects them to grow up quickly.
Fortunately, this is one area where you can control the narrative. You don’t need any fancy methodologies or step-by-step directions. Every child is different and it is easier to start from the beginning but it really comes down to one simple truth: make reading about love.
Not fun you ask. Yes, reading and learning should be fun too but lifelong readers do so out of love.
If you want to raise a reader, teach them about love.Tweet
In the beginning, it is about connection. We all seek and crave human attachment. It is our first, primal instinct. Don’t worry about whether or not it is at their reading level. When they are really little you can even read aloud a book you are currently enjoying. They are there for you first, not the words.
As they age, children will associate reading with that bond. It will be a source of comfort; something they can rely on. A book is a place you can go to feel safe.
It doesn’t take much time out of your day and you might find that it brings you comfort as well. If you want to raise a reader, teach them about love. Without any further ado, here are our top picks for this month. Add them to your collection (if you don’t already have) or check them out at your local library.
The little House
Virginia Lee Burton
This is my eldest son’s favorite book. Burton is a well known author and children have adored her stories for decades. Originally published in 1942, The Little House is more relevant now than ever. It is a reminder that progress for the sake of progress inhibits true connection with the world around us. It also serves as a reminder to slow down and appreciate nature and that, as we advance, we actually encroach on what truly matters to us in this world.
King Bidgood’s in the bathtub
Audrey Wood & Don Wood
Don and Audrey Wood are known for their beautiful illustrations that capture the imagination of young readers and their engaging storytelling that will bring a smile to any child’s face. Originally published in 1985, this classic is sure to delight. Besides the hilarity of the book, you and your small reading companion can equally spend hours examining each page and the exquisite detail that has been poured to each image.
Matt De La Peña & Loren Long
This is a newer book published in 2018 and “keeps it real” when discussing the intangible force that unites us all. It’s a powerful message and a great introduction to young readers about all of the perspectives and experiences that exist within our society. It is especially meaningful to me who did not have the “white-picket-fence” childhood and I am impressed by the way De La Peña honors those truths in a way that a child can empathize with. It is also available in Spanish here:
Mirette on the high wire
Emily Arnold McGully
Originally published in 1992, this is another story that truly captures the imagination both for its colorful, impressionist style illustrations and the story itself. It presents Mirette, a young girl raised by a single mother in a boarding house, who sets a goal (to learn to walk the high wire) and works tirelessly to achieve it. The story addresses perseverance and success through determination and that failure is a part of life.
Wherever you are My Love will find you
Nancy Tillman is a Portland, OR based author and is noted for her unique illustrations and lyrical prose. Her work reads more like a poem than a story. She is a master wordsmith and draws young readers in by playing with language and giving voice to our innermost feelings. If you have a hard time expressing just how much you love someone, this is the book for you. It sometimes makes me cry because it captures so perfectly what I want to say.
KING JACK AND THE DRAGON
Peter Bently & Helen Oxenbury
This story is full of rhymes and opportunities to include sound effects to add to the drama of the tale. The language allows the reader to enjoy the adventure with the characters and is accompanied by both full color and black and white drawings using a crosshatching technique to provide texture and the illusion of night. This tale remains engaging for infant readers to preschoolers.
What are you reading next?