Attention, Patch families.
As a bestselling author, but most importantly, as a dad, I’ve found this to be my absolute go-to golden rule for parenting: the best way to open doors for your children is to get them to absolutely love to read books. And this won’t happen unless you, the parent, take the job into your own hands.
Reading—no matter what kinds of books they prefer—is the best and only way our kids will be able to grasp a firm footing in this life. Never deny them a book at the store or the library. Make time for reading 20 minutes a day in your house. Read books alongside them. Make the act of reading cool.
There’s a simple, easy way to get started: pick the books your kid will love. You can even use my ReadKiddoRead.com for a list of the best ones out there. Give them books they’ll enjoy, and they’ll pick up the next one on their own. Then another, and another… until you have a full-fledged reader on your hands, destined for great things ahead.
Ways to Celebrate National Reading Month
From storytime to read aloud programs, there are plenty of ways to make your children full-fledged readers—and National Reading Month is the perfect time to start. From showing your child your own children's books from years ago to going to a bookstore and seeing punchy, colorful new covers, either can ignite a love of reading into your child.
The National Education Association, which launched a Read Across America program to motivate kids to read, has plenty of resources on its site. Looking for the best books your family can read together? Then check out this list, the Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children Get ready to grab "Cat in the Hat" and "Charlotte's Web" from your local library--which could also have a children's reading room with interactive games and toys about characters from various books.
NEA also has booklists for every state. If your class is participating in this activity and you are a book or two short, or your students are eager for more, try these titles from New Jersey's list:
- Battle of Trenton by Martin McPhillips
- Captain Grey by Avi
- Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson
- Henry Reed’s Baby-Sitting Service by Keith Robertson
- Me, Mop, and the Moondance Kid by Walter Dean Myers
- Fighting Ground by Avi
- George Washington's Socks by Elvira Wooddruff
Our thanks go to Erin McQuiston of LMS Grimshaw Elementary School in LaFayette, New York, and Donna McCrory, a librarian at Westside Elementary School in Westmoreland, Tennessee for contributing to this list, which spans fiction and non-fiction for younger to older readers.
A popular activity is to "travel" across a map of the U.S. by reading a book that takes place in each of the states. (A variation is to read a book whose author lives in a particular state, or a book about a particular state.)
And if you're looking for more great books to read to your kids, check out the ReadKiddoRead Foundation's website for reading lists by age group and category.
The Morristown-Morris Township Library also offers plenty of resources. Here's a list of some local reading-related events and programs in town this month:
Tell Us: What books are you reading for National Reading Month?