Off the Shelf: The Best Books to Get Your Kids and Teens Reading
By Sharon Saye on December 06, 2017
Parents are always asking what books should my child read so here are a few books that will answer that question. “Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos: A Guide to Choosing, Reading and Loving Books Together” by Susan Straub helps parents to decide what to read after “Goodnight Moon.” Straub points out that research shows that the number of different words a baby hears each day is the single most important predictor of later intelligence, school success and social competence. But the problem is not only choosing the right book, but also dealing with babies who are more interested in their feet and physical activity than sitting still and listening. Straub offers help on both these fronts with lists of books for various ages and developments as well as how to establish the reading experience.
Esme Raji Codell takes this to an even larger audience with her book, “How to Get Your Child to Love Reading.” It is subtitled “for ravenous and reluctant readers alike with activities, ideas and inspiration for exploring everything in the world through books.”
This volume contains over 3,000 hand-picked titles on every subject under the sun as well as hundreds of child-tested, teacher-approved craft ideas, book-based parties, experiments, reading-club activities and web-site recommendations. Publishers Weekly called this book “an exuberant treasure trove for parents,” and it certainly fits that description with chapter after chapter of great recommendations and activities.
Teenagers can prove to be a problem where reading is concerned. Boys think it isn’t very cool to be caught reading; parents think all that girls read is romantic fluff. Anita Silvey, one of the nation’s leading authorities on books for young people, has interviewed teenage readers all over the country and immersed herself in the most recent books published for young adults in order to offer some expertise. The result is “500 Great Books for Teens.”
With chapters on “Adventure and Survival,” “Fantasy,” “Graphic Novels” and “Religion and Spirituality” she provides hundreds of recommendations from classics such as “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath to non-fiction such as “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich. “Harry Potter” is here as is Homer Hickam’s “Rocket Boys,” “The Diary of Anne Frank” to Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones.” There is even a chapter suggesting books beyond the 500.
All three of these books are great places to start encouraging the love of reading regardless of age.