Think. What activity can you encourage that will be more vital to your child's future than a love of reading?
Now, think again. How can you mess up that love of reading? Hint....
(See Dick. See Jane. See Dick read Jane a bad book. "No, Dick, no!")
That's right. Dismal children's books are counter-productive. They can discourage your child from reading. How terrible is that?
Children Desperately Want To Learn To Read
For young children, a mystique grows around reading. They instinctively recognize reading and writing as a huge part of what separates them from adults. When you read to them, you're letting them in on this secret world and they love you for it!
Now, our job as adults is to increase the reading mystique. One way is to let our children catch us reading. Often!
As your children's most important role model, make sure they see you reading books more often than they see you, say, watching TV.
Other Ways To Increase The Mystique
When my pre-reader would see me on the computer, I made sure she knew I was reading on the computer. When we were driving and she wanted to know how I know where we are, I made sure she knew it was because I was reading the signs.
And when I had to engage discreetly with another adult around my child, I spelled instead of using Pig Latin. In other words, I gave my child an incentive to learn how to read. If you do your job right, there's nothing your child will want more than to break that code!
Read To Your Child!
Of course, the most important thing is to read to your child - a lot - and to make sure the children's books you read are engaging. Of course, great children's books means different things to different people. This site means to help you find the best children's books for you AND your children.
I should probably confess one thing before we go further. I come to this exercise as a professional, working writer who has written children's books - though not professionally.
Instead I wrote them for the most important reader there is. My own child.
(Before we're done here, you might find me trying to get you to try writing a children's book for your own most important reader. But not right now.)
Now, I'd like to confess to a bias I've managed to overcome.
Your Imperfect Guide - Me
When it comes to children's books (and movies, for that matter, because that's what I write professionally), I used to feel that the quality of the story was the only important thing.
That was before I watched my own child being read to. (If you've never had this pleasure, I urge you to treat yourself ASAP!)
While the story was being read, my daughter's eyes darted about the page like a school of minnows on the run! (If a child is that engaged, you can bet that reading is having the effect you want.) Since then, I seek out picture books that are richly illustrated in addition to having a great story.
(Of course, we won't just be talking about picture books. This site aims to help you find the best chapter books as well.)
You'll find a lot of resources on this site, including the thoughts of our terrific reviewers. After all, we all have the same goal: to find books for our children that will stimulate a lifelong love of reading.
So let's get to it!
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