We’re big into reading around here. Even before my now 7 year old started reading, she was obsessed with ABC’s. We have a wooden alphabet set, and she would line up all the letters over and over. She made letters out of Q-tips, looked at ABC picture books all the time, and eventually learned to write her name. Everything happened quickly after that. There was a period of time that roughly half of all questions she asked me involved how to spell this word or that word. Now she reads everything: cereal boxes, instruction manuals, newspaper headlines, comics, magazines, and of course books. She writes almost as much as she reads, hoarding notebooks and special pens, making lists, making cards, writing stories and making little books….I have a big stack of papers that all say, “I love you, Mommy,” on them. I cherish every one of them.
She reads almost daily, sometimes for hours. She used to read huge stacks of books because she didn’t like the books without pictures. We went to the library weekly during that phase. Now it seems like picture books are a thing of the past. Now she says, “Mom, this book has 11 chapters!” like it’s some sort of new goal she’s set for herself.
In addition to my oldest being a voracious reader, I read stories out loud to my girls, too. At bedtime, they each choose a book for me to read, and then I tuck them in and read a bit from a chapter book if there is some extra time. The only trouble with reading to my kids is that there are so many books I want to read and just not enough time!
Which leads me to the point I’m trying to make…
This year, I read 10 books to my girls, and I wanted to share our reading list. My girls are 7 and 4. My 4 year old often fell asleep while I read, but in another year or two she’ll be as interested as her older sister. I felt like all of these books were age-appropriate for my 6/7 year old, and she certainly seemed to enjoy them, too. I theorized that all of them had leading characters about the same age as her, making them relatable to her.
Here are the 10 books we read:
1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
2. Matilda by Roald Dahl
3. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
6. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
7. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
8. 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes
9. The Doll People by Ann M. Martin
10. Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The great thing about reading aloud to my children is experiencing some of these books for the first time. I would often finish a chapter and be reluctant to quit reading.
More importantly, almost every one of these books opened up a new conversation between my oldest and I. For instance, Charlotte dying was a lengthy conversation. I also grandstanded quite a bit during 100 Dresses on how to treat people who don’t look the same as us. The Indian in the Cupboard was an appropriate way to end the year, and I think my oldest connected with Omri on some level as he began to mature. It was certainly her favorite book that we read.
I’m not sure what we’ll be reading next. I have about a day to think about it and, thankfully, many, many books from which to choose!