I have just finished reading "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. It is an awesome book full of book recommendations to read to kids of all ages but, more importantly, it is a guide to teaching your children a love of reading.
As I have been reading, we have tried some of the advice and have had good success. The first thing I tried was reading stories at dinner. The kids loved hearing stories during while they ate! It had an interesting effect too --- the Dandelion ate his food without arguing. Wow. The reading did make it a little more difficult for me to eat (I was reading) and the Tumbleweed was so into the books she had to be reminded to eat her food a couple times, but any time the Dandelion eats his dinner is worth noting. After four stories they were mostly done with their food, but ran off to find more books for me to read and sat back down at the table. Wow. So now I have put together a book basket for the kitchen (and one for the bathroom) and the kids are enjoying the choosing our "dinner books".
A little further into the book the author talks about the importance of Sustained Silent Reading (reading to yourself) and the importance of not substituting it for bedtime stories with kids who can read. This was something that has started to happen in our house. The Tumbleweed is now able to read and, to save some time, I had been letting her "read for a half hour" instead of me reading to her or with her. So now we have gone back to more adult-read stories for her at bedtime and found a new time for her to read to herself --- while she waits for the bus. She has a "Bus Book" that is sitting by the stairs that she can read while she waits and she has gotten ready rather quickly each morning so she will have time to read. Wow.
Up next: we are hosting a Book Club Playgroup with our school-age MOMS Club friends. The kids will each be recommending their favorite book and, hopefully, inspiring their friends to try some new books! If you'd like to recommend a book for kids of any age, leave it in the comment section and I will include it on our Must Read Book List. I highly recommend The Read-Aloud Handbook for parents & educators this Christmas!
4 months ago