Suggested Reading For Kids of Every Age

This week we have been talking about the great benefits of reading aloud to our kiddos. If you missed any of these posts, head back to Day 1 and scroll to the bottom for a complete list! To wrap it up, I thought you might want some ideas to jumpstart your read aloud library.

What to Read?

Regardless of their age, look for great stories. Look for stories that are as enjoyable to you as they are to your kids.

E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan said, “Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth…Children are game for anything. I throw them hard words and they backhand them across the net.”

That being said, keep the bar high. Choose books with rich vocabulary and descriptions that paint a vivid picture. It takes time for kids to see that “movie” in their mind as they listen or read a story, but the better the story, the more likely that skill will come.

Got wiggly kids? Grab some blank paper and markers, and let them draw as you read. The drawing will occupy their right brain and free up the left brain to listen to the story.

Recommendations at Every Level

When you’re reading to babies, look for stories with rhythm and rhyme. Dr. Suess books are great. And so are Eric Carle’s (The Hungry Caterpillar and many, many more)!

Here are some others:

  • I Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch
  • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Going-to-Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr.

By the toddler and pre-school years, look for books with stories that little ones can relate to. My two year old loves the Llama, Llama books by Anna Dewdney. The Corduroy books by Don Freeman are another good choice for this age group. And of course, there are the classics like Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Monster in My Closet and Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline books.

In the early elementary years, both boys and girls love the Little House books. We’ve read the entire series as a family, which took a few years to complete. Our younger kids don’t remember the earlier books in the series, so they are now starting to read them on their own. But the books inspired fun crafts and cooking projects, and it taught our kids about the pioneer days of our country’s westward expansion period through the eyes of characters that they loved and related to.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien is another great choice for this age group, as is Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume. Andrew Clements is an excellent author for this age group and so is Kate DiCamillo.

Looking for books to capture the hearts of boys? Check out Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I’ve seen this book turn even the most reluctant boys into readers! The Cay by Theodore Taylor is another good one, and in the same genre, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George is another boy favorite. If your boy likes fun, adventure stories, The Spiderwick Chronicles is a quick, easy read that’s super engaging.

Got a girl who loves adventure? The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley might really captivate her. It can take a few chapters to get into the first book, but after that, she won’t be able to put them down.

Kids tend to like a series. City of Ember, by Jean DuPrau is a good series for elementary age kids, as is Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

If your kids love animals, check out Florida native Carl Hiaasen. His kids books (Hoot, Flush, Chomp and Scat) are fun and well written.

When it comes to teens, they’ll have no problem reading a popular series like The Hunger Games and Divergent on their own, so consider choosing good titles that they might not have picked without your influence. Elie Wiesel’s Night and Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning both deal with a heavy topic, but they can offer valuable conversation with your adolescent.  I, Robot by Isaac Asimov is another great read for teens. They will be amazed at Asimov’s foresight and are likely to enjoy the stories. If your teen digs science fiction, check out Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It’s a captivating story that offers valuable conversation starters.

As you cultivate a culture rich in words, you won’t just help to build a better learner, you’re also likely to build a more self-aware, socially responsible person, and you will surely develop a family culture rich in communication and creativity. All the while, you’ll build tender memories that will stay with them throughout adulthood.

 

Thanks for hanging with us this week. Please share your favorite books books for kids in the comments section below!

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “Suggested Reading For Kids of Every Age

  1. I am a 72 year old mother to 3 terrific daughters (and mothers), ages 45, 43, and 39, and Bubbe to 9 grandkids, ages 13 to 4. I recently started reading your Parenting articles published in the Sarasota Herald Tribune and am now sharing with my daughters, who will probably become subscribers.

    May I suggest another book to add to your list for kids to read? “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. If you haven’t read it, make time to do so. My granddaughter read it, suggested it to her Mom, who suggested it to her sisters and to me .

    Your insights are great. Thank you for sharing.
    Sandy Barton

    • Thank you for reaching out to us, Sandra. You have made our day. It is so encouraging to get feedback. We have put Wonder on our personal reading list. Thank you for the recommendation! A new GOOD book is a treasure. Best wishes to you and your girls and all of your grandbabies. Please stay in touch.

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