Reading Challenges: The Favorites

Hello Readers!  I know that most of you are breathing sighs of relief now that the kiddos are back in school.  Not because they’re out of your hair, per se, but because your lives are probably returning to normal right now.  You’re getting back to your normal routine, most likely, and (hopefully) if you’ve been taking my advice you are starting some new routines and traditions for yourself and your family.

One routine that you will hopefully be practicing with your kids on a regular basis is reading together.  I am not afraid to admit that I am a bookworm, and I am a huge supporter of libraries, reading, and English education for our kids.  I strongly believe that we need to instill a passion of reading and of books in our kids, and the only way to really get them to love it is to start them young and reading together.

I know a lot of us moms feel like we never have time to even sit down and breathe, let alone sit down and read with our kids.  But it’s a really important part of their upbringing, in my eyes, to spend time reading with your kids.  Taking even thirty minutes twice or three times a week reading with your kids can go the distance in their long term care.  Besides spending quality time with you, they also increase their language skills and their social skills by reading with you.  And, if you teach them to read to you, you can also help grow their reading and presentation skills.

With that in mind, I want to turn our focus to the favorites for kids to read.  While I am a firm believer in letting your kids have the freedom to choose certain parts of their lives (their tastes in music, literature, movies, food, etc.), I am also a firm believer in some censorship in our lives.  Let’s face it; children today are growing up way too fast!  With the constant exposure to the Internet (and its expansive amount of material not suitable for children), the violent video games (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto, etc.), the unfiltered social media, and the state of our world, our kids are continually exposed to unfiltered and potentially dangerous information and material. But enough of that; let’s focus on some great books for kids!

Ages 2-5 (and up).
Of course, Dr. Seuss books are a must for this age.  Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat were favorites of mine growing up.  I highly recommend these books for kids.  Another new favorite series I have found are the Kohl’s Cares features.  I love these books because you can typically find stuffed animals that go with them.  Some of the featured books from Kohl’s Cares are Leo Lionni books and the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series.  I also really love Mercer Mayer books and the Berenstain Bears books for this age group.

Ages 6-10.
Beverly Cleary , Judy Blume, and Roald Dahl immediately come to mind when I think of Elementary School and kids.  Their books have been favorites for decades, and for a good reason!  My favorite book when I was little was Freckle Juice, and I loved Matilda!  But for this age group, I would like to add in the Amelia Bedelia books and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  These are great chapter book options for your kids as they get older.  I also highly recommend classic literature pieces, such as Little Women, Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Charlotte’s Web, Treasure Island, and more books like these for your kids.

Ages 11-14.
This is a tricky age for most parents.  This is the ‘tween and early teen stage that contains a lot of melodrama, a lot of questioning, and a lot of growth for both parents and kids. This is also a time that kids start to lose their “innocence” (their child-like wonderment and excitement) and start to see the world for what it is (or what it can be).  This is when the rose colored glasses about school begin to come off, and kids start to really discover their individuality and begin to question the world around them.  Foster that.  I highly recommend books like Number the Stars, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Giver, The Outsiders, the Chronicles of Narnia series, and the Lord of the Rings books.

Ages 15-18.
Aside from college prep books, this is another interesting age.  This is the age when kids need to really learn about truth and consequences and learn about the world outside of their immediate surroundings.  I highly recommend books like Brave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, Of Mice and Men, and Lord of the Flies. I also recommend Mark Twain’s books right now, as well as memoirs and biographies/autobiographies from strong individuals.  Mark Twain’s books help to instill equality among all, and strong individuals, both famous and infamous, can help inspire our kids into taking their futures seriously.  I personally love Mary Karr and Jeanette Walls myself, but I wouldn’t recommend them for kids.  But athletes, heroes, strong political figures, stars, astronauts, and historical figures all could help teens understand their own interests and learn about dedication, commitment, integrity, honesty, and hard work.  However, do keep this in mind: memoir writers do use creative license with their works, and that means that there might be a little exaggeration involved in their work, sometimes quite a bit of fabrication to their story.  That’s a part of their creative license, and they will stand behind it to the very end.  It may come out that they lied about everything that happened in their memoir, and they will still claim they did nothing wrong because they exercised their creative license.  If you let your kids read any memoir, keep this in mind in case a lie comes out about the book, and be prepared to answer the tough questions about lies and deception.  However, it can also be a good thing as it teaches your kids about the consequences of lying (ie letting people, like your fans, down).

So, tell me Readers, what books do you love for your kids?  What have been your experiences with reading to your kids?  I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,



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