The Comfort and Nurturing One-on-One Attention from Parents While Reading Together Encourages Children to Form a Positive Association with Reading and Books
Reading is a journey that begins at an early age and takes us to diverse worlds of imagination and knowledge. Books have a profound impact on our lives, and they play a crucial role in shaping our thoughts, perspectives, and worldviews. The importance of reading cannot be overstated, and parents must instill this value in their children from a young age.
One of the most effective ways to encourage children to read is by reading to them. This simple act provides an opportunity for parents to connect with their children, to share quality time, to bond, and learn together. When parents read to their children, they create a positive association with books and reading. Moreover, they nurture a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge that will serve their children for a lifetime.
Children thrive under the comfort and nurturing one-on-one attention from parents while reading together. Such moments are precious and provide a safe and secure environment that fosters emotional bonds, communication skills, and social-emotional development. Reading aloud to children also helps with early literacy skills such as vocabulary development, letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and comprehension.
As a parent, I have seen the impact of reading with my son, Joshua, who is now thirteen years old. Our reading journey began even before he was born. I would read to the baby in my tummy all sorts of books, hoping that my voice would help him grow familiar with the sounds of different words. Reading has always been part of our daily routine, a comforting ritual that helps us unwind and share our individual understanding of the same book.
Joshua and I have compiled a list of thirty unforgettable books that parents should read with their children. This journey down memory lane brought back many fun memories, and we hope it does the same for you.
“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is a heartwarming story about selfless love and the many relationship changes we go through in the different stages of our lives. It is an excellent tool to encourage discussions about generosity and gratitude based on the giving nature of the tree and other ways the boy could have shown his appreciation for the presents he received throughout his life.
“One Sunday morning, a caterpillar hatched out of a tiny egg…and he was very hungry!” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle is a classic picture book that tells the story of a little caterpillar who eats his way through the days of the week and eventually transforms into a beautiful butterfly. This colorful book is perfect for toddlers and kindergarten-aged children, and it helps with learning the days of the week.
“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is a fun, rhythmic story about the alphabet. The bold, colorful pictures and simple, easy-to-follow words help with learning the alphabet and letter recognition.
“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a story about a pilot stranded in the desert who awakens one morning to find a little prince standing before him. This extraordinary little person teaches the pilot the secret of what is truly important in life. Katherine Woods’ translation beautifully captures the essence of the original story. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“A Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein is a fun book of poems filled with just the right amount of imagination, fantasy, and cheekiness. The cute and goofy illustrations are matched marvelously with each entry.
“Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White is a heartwarming story about a lovable pig and a wise spider becoming BFFs. This book has a brilliant mixture of humor, playfulness, and life lessons. The book is a great tool to teach children about friendship, loyalty, and the importance of being kind to others.
“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak tells the story of Max, a boy who gets sent to his room without supper for not respecting his mother’s many requests to behave. His room transforms into a crazy jungle before he finally encounters the wild things, becomes their king, and gets a feel of what it’s like to have everything his way. The illustrations are breathtaking.
“Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is a story about a mother’s love for her son. She sings a familiar song repeatedly to her son, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” The roles are finally reversed when it’s the son’s turn to rock his old mama to sleep, making you realize how quickly time flies.
“The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss is a classic story about two kids who are home alone and bored out of their minds. The book is fun, and the way the words are put together makes helping children learn to recognize words and sounds all the more fun.
“Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss is another classic book that strengthens reading, speaking, listening, and comprehension skills through fun phrases and fantastic illustrations. The book teaches children not to be afraid of trying new things and encourages them to discover new things.
“The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams is a beautiful story of a stuffed toy rabbit who so badly wants to be real. Filled with powerful lessons about love, life, and the passage of time, the story is emotional and highly engaging.
“Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson is a delightfully imaginative adventure of Harold, who uses his purple crayon to transform his bedtime into a circus, balloon rides, and even a trip to Mars. The book is wonderful for first-time readers and encourages young children to use their imagination to take them wherever they want to go.
“Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing” by Judy Blume is a fun and entertaining story about the relationship between Peter (the fourth-grader) and his brother Fudge. The book opens several opportunities to discuss issues that arise between siblings as well as with friends and cousins for children without siblings.
“Mr. Plumbean’s Big Orange Splot” by Daniel Manus Pinkwater tells the story of a seagull with a can of bright orange paint who drops the can right over Mr. Plumbean’s house. The neighbors who all live in identical brown houses are in an uproar over the resulting big orange splot. Mr. Plumbean is asked to paint over the splot, but instead adds more color, splots, and personality. An excellent book that celebrates each person’s individuality and encourages appreciation of others’ uniqueness.
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl is a classic story about our hero, Charlie Bucket, along with four other children who win a tour of Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory. Filled with fun, adventure, and more candy than you can ever imagine, the book is a joy to read.
“The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss is a cautionary tale about the dangers of pollution and mindless progress that hurts our environment. Dr. Seuss skillfully uses the story as a warning to protect our earth from the dangers of pollution. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” is an excellent lesson for children and grownups alike.
“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle is a sci-fi adventure story about Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend, Calvin, who go on a quest through space to search for Meg’s father, who went missing while working on a mysterious project, “Tesseract.” Filled with wonder, adventure, and discoveries, the book shares the struggle between good vs. evil in the universe.
Reading is an essential part of our lives. For children, developing a love for reading is equally important as it shapes their character, develops their social-emotional skills, and fosters cognitive growth. The comfort and nurturing one-on-one attention offered by parents while reading together create a bond, a positive association with reading, and an appreciation for learning that lasts a lifetime. The thirty unforgettable books we have listed above will offer hours of joy, laughter, and insight to both you and your child as you read together.