How do I teach my child to read?
Teaching children to read can be one of the many joys of parenthood, or one of the many frustrations, depending on your child’s desire to read or not to read. From an evening routine with built-in quality time to being prepared when it’s time to attend school, there are many benefits to reading to your child and/or teaching him or her to read.
How do I get my child to like reading?
If your child doesn’t like reading, don’t worry - you’re not alone. Many kids develop a love of reading later than others, and some children may not develop a desire to read often at all. Either way, being patient and recognizing that each child will learn at his or her own pace will prevent tantrums and tension.
3 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read
While it’s important to keep in mind that each child will learn to read at his or her own rate, there are ways parents can encourage children to read and foster a love of reading in a fun and relaxed way. Here are our tips for encouraging kids to read.
1. Using Audiobooks to Encourage Reading
Listening to audiobooks is a fun way to encourage children to read. Whether in the car on the way to school, the grocery store, or on vacation or even around the house while doing chores or spending time together as a family, audiobooks can foster a love of reading through fostering a love of stories. In addition to local and national bookstores, many libraries also offer a selection of audiobooks.
2. Track Your Reading Habits
Tracking reading habits can encourage you, and your children, to read more and to read well. Websites and apps like GoodReads, Bookly, Litsy, and more. These apps also allow you to rate and review books you’ve read, create reading goals to motivate yourself, create to-read lists of books you are interested in reading, and find new favorite books from other users and recommendations provided based on your personal favorites. Bookly even allows users to time their reading experience and use statistics to view progress.
3. Make Going to the Library Fun
Do you remember the thrill and excitement you experienced when you applied for your very own library card for the first time? Wouldn’t you love to pass on that love of reading to your child? Visiting the library from an early age can foster a love of reading and learning in children. Most libraries have designated children’s sections where infants, adolescents, and young adults alike can find a variety of reading material.
Many local libraries in the greater Memphis area, including the Memphis Public Library system, the Collierville Public Library, the Germantown Public Library, and the First Regional Library system of DeSoto County offer many programs and activities like puppet shows, art classes, read alouds, and more that make visits fun for kids. Most libraries also have dedicated read aloud sessions throughout the week for stay at home moms looking for educational activities for their children.
Our Favorite Books for Kids
We asked our staff to share some of their favorite books for children, young adults, and parents. Here are our tops picks for books for kids and adults.
Books to Read Aloud to Kids
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Loosely based on a true story about a gorilla who spends most of his life in captivity, Newberry Medal winner The One and Only Ivan is clever and fast-paced while tackling issues like loneliness, friendship, and what it means to help others in need.
Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
Duck and Goose is a charming story about mistaken identities, and what can happen when we learn the importance of sharing with others. Duck and Goose recently won the Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award as well as the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Book Award and the Cardozo Award for Children’s Literature.
Books for Early Readers
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
Pax is the heartwarming story of a fox named Pax and a boy named Peter whose friendship during a time of war bring hope to Pax and Peters as well as those around them. When the war divides them, Peter risks everything to find Pax, who must learn to survive in the unfamiliar wild. With beautiful illustrations and writing, Pax is both simple and complex and offers young readers an unforgettable journey of love and compassion.
Middle Grade Books
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
When August Pullman begins 5th grade at a new school, his unique physical characteristics catch the attention of the school bully. Wonder is a heartwarming story of what can happen when we accept that we are all special in our own unique ways and the beauty that can come from friendships formed out of adversity.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
In The War That Saved My Life, author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley explores topics like family and identity through 9-year-old Ada and her brother Jamie as they navigate childhood, friendships, and other important issues amid the backdrop of World War II London.
Young Adult Books
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park tells the story of two teenagers navigating high school and young love. As Eleanor struggles to overcome the scars of her past and Park struggles to overcome the struggles of his present, they find in one another friendship, hope, and something more - love and acceptance.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give has quickly become one of the most talked about books of the last few years, as it seamlessly navigates the complex world of racial relations with the familiar struggle of adolescence. When her childhood best friend is killed by a police officer, 16-year-old Starr seeks to understand herself and the world around her. The balance between the lower-income neighborhood where she dwells and the preparatory high school she attends will collide, and she will seek answers to questions she never knew to ask until now.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
When young Liesel, an orphan sent to live with a German family during World War II, discovers books, she begins to understand more about the complex world she lives in, including the reason why no one can ever know about the kind Jewish man who lives with them.
Book Recommendations for Parents
We’re often asked about our recommendations for books for parents. From advice on creating sleeping schedules to the differences in parenting across cultures, readers can find plenty of great tips and tricks in a variety of books.
5 Books Parents Should Read
NOTE: The following parenting resources are simply recommendations from our staff for new and experienced parents. If you have any questions regarding healthcare, nutrition, or any other matter, please consult your child’s pediatrician.
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
Imagine a culture where it’s not uncommon for children to sleep through the night at just 2-3 months old, partake in healthy well-balanced meals, and communicate with other children and adults from a very young age. Bringing Up Bebe explores the secret of French parenting for those interested in learning about parenting philosophies from other cultures.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Faber and Mazlish offer a unique perspective on communicating with children of all ages that combines both a respectful approach to discipline and conversation while fostering a deep connection that encourages children and adolescents to communicate with parents and other adolescents in a healthy and productive way.
Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Think sibling rivalry is just a fact of life? Think again. In Siblings Without Rivalry, Faber and Mazlish explore the complex dynamic between siblings and their parents while providing groundbreaking yet practical tools to help parents disengage conflicts, foster friendships, and forge lasting bonds. Their research is based on hundreds of workshops, seminars, and clinical studies.
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel
Neuropsychiatrist Daniel Siegel explores the reasons behind why toddlers throw tantrums and teenagers challenge authority while providing strategies for parents of children at every age to engage the mind, connect through conflict, and tame tantrums and tension by helping children understand the source of their emotions while fostering empathy and responsibility.
The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp
The Happiest Baby on the Block has been read by thousands of parents seeking a restful night’s sleep. Dr. Howard Karp offers solutions for parents who are having trouble soothing their babies with five simple steps to trigger the calming reflex.