Happy National Read-a-Book Day!
Did you know that September 6th is National Read-a-Book Day? Let’s talk about all things reading and books!
A Little About My Love for Reading
I have always loved books and reading since before I could actually read. I remember getting my first library card and feeling like a grown-up. It was for our school library, but nonetheless, I was stoked that I could pick out any book from the library that I wanted. Since I was in kindergarten, I was only allowed to check out picture books. I was perfectly happy reading all the books from Don Freeman’s Corduroy to Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Marcus Pfister’s The Rainbow Fish.
My love for reading propelled in an unconventional way as my father, an operating room nurse, happened to do some kind of surgery on the school librarian. Unbeknownst to me, they started talking and when it came up that I was one of the students at the school where she worked, my dad said, “Kaycee LOVES to read. And in fact, she can already read those little chapter books. You should really let her check those books out.”
When the librarian returned, she called me out of the group and had her assistant walk me to the “I can read” chapter books section of the library. She proceeded to tell me that not only could I start checking out the big kid chapter books, but I could also check out THREE books instead of two like the other kindergarteners. My mind was blown. That year, I devoured multiple series including Amelia Bedelia, Magic Treehouse, Cam Jansen, Russel Hoban’s Frances series, and more.
As the years went on, I found myself wandering through the prairie with Laura Ingalls and her family, escaping mischief with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, giggling at Anne Shirley’s antics, drowning in chocolate with Willy Wonka, wishing to be old enough to be a part of the Babysitters Club gang, and sleuthing with the Boxcar Children, Violet, Benny, Henry, and Jessie.
Why Reading Is Important
Whenever I hear kids say “reading is BOOOORING,” a piece of me dies inside. Reading shouldn’t be “boring” because it has so much to offer!
- Reading opens up a whole new world for kids to explore. It causes them to lose themselves in their imaginations. Here is a great Readers Digest article on “5 Benefits of Encouraging Your Child’s Imagination.”
- Reading expands vocabulary. Studies have shown that if children are read to 3-5 times a week, a child would have heard 169,520 words by his or her fifth birthday.
- Reading teaches empathy. Reading helps us jump into a character’s shoes and experience something that we may never experience. We become drawn to the feelings and emotions of that character. This opens up our eyes to look at life from someone else’s perspective. Here is a great article that goes into depth on how reading teaches empathy: Lost for Words? How Reading Can Teach Children Empathy.
Tips on Encouraging Reading
I’m no children’s literary expert and my daughters are five and three, so I’m still raising young readers myself. However, here are a few things I learned from my parents when it comes to encouraging children to read more:
Read with your kids.
My parents always took the time to read books to me and my brother, especially when we couldn’t read for ourselves. I feel like this really bonded us together. Now, as a mom, I try to make reading stories fun for my girls. Sometimes I’ll try to make up all of the character voices (which turns out hilariously terrible). Other times, if I’m reading Dr. Seuss, I’ll end up fake-rapping out the words. Trust me when I say Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks is the BEST book to rap to.
Don’t discourage your kids from reading.
My parents never discouraged us from reading. If we complained about being “bored,” they’d say, “clean the house or read a book.” Of course, I always chose the latter. My parents let me read anywhere anytime, within reason. I do remember getting in trouble multiple times for sneaking a book to the dinner table and trying to read covertly in between bites. Yup– I was that kid who had her nose stuck in a book any chance I got.
Let them read what they’re interested in.
To my dad’s chagrin, the only books my brother was interested in were Captain Underpants and comic books like Calvin and Hobbes and FoxTrot. Despite that, my dad begrudgingly still bought the books because at least my brother was reading something. Fast-forward twenty years, fun fact: my brother is now an artist and illustrator thanks to being inspired by comics as a child. (If you’re interested, you can find him on Instagram at @tim_ooee.)
Let’s Celebrate “National Read-a-Book Day!”
To celebrate National Read-a-Book Day, let me challenge you to do one of three things:
- Find a book and read it to your kids. Don’t know where to start? I asked my friends what their favorite children’s books were and compiled a list for you below!
- If your kids are too old to be read to, talk about a book they are currently reading or share some of your favorite books from when you were their age.
- Do a little self-care and start reading a book for yourself. (Or find an Audible book to listen to while doing all the mom things.)
Favorite Books From My Friends
- A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Robertson
- Anansi The Spider by Gerald McDermott
- Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
- Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
- Candace Center Stage by Candace Cameron Bure
- Chalk Box Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
- Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
- Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
- Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman
- Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
- Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
- Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall
- Miss Suzy by Miriam Young
- Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
- Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel
- Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
- Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
- Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
- Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
- The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
- The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
- The Monster at the End of the Book (Sesame Street) by Jon Stone
- The Napping House by Audrey Wood
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
- The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
- The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema
- Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Favorite Book Series
- Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
- American Girl (various authors)
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- Betsy Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
- Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
- Curious George by Margret Rey; H. A. Rey
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
- Hardy Boys by Edward Stratemeyer
- Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Llama, Llama by Anna Dewdney
- Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
- Paddington by Michael Bond
- Peg and Cat by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
- Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
- Ralph S. Mouse trilogy by Beverly Cleary
- Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary
- Spot by Eric Hill
- The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
- The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne
- The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna
- Trixie Belden by Julie Campbell Tatham and Kathryn Kenny
- Wayside School Series by Louis Sachar
- A.A. Milne
- Andrea Beaty
- Arnold Lobel
- Beverly Cleary
- Dr. Seuss
- E.B. White
- Eric Carle
- Kevin Lovegreen
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Laura Numeroff
- Moe Willems
- Richard Scary
- Roald Dahl
- Robert McCloskey
- Robert Munsch
- Russel Hoban
- Shel Silverstein
- Stan and Jan Berenstain
We have a ton of great resources for books in our area! Besides our local libraries, there are “Little Free Libraries” across our area. All you have to do is bring a book to donate and take a book from the box. Simple!
I hope you find some really great books to bond over with your kids!
“Take a look, it’s in a book.
A Reading Rainbow.”