Nothing is so precious as the gift of reading. It’s something every parent should give their child. It costs nothing except our time, and there is no better investment in your child’s future.
Some parents wonder how, in their busy lives, they can fit in all the time required to read to a child. But it’s simple. Substitute books for television and computer games.
In our house, we often spent hours reading books each evening. There was no bedtime. If our daughter could stay awake while we read, we would keep reading. This made reading her favorite activity because it put her in control of bedtime.
Some parents wonder what level of book to read to their child. It’s often best to be guided by the child’s own selections.
Don’t assume that just because a child has started reading on their own they don’t still enjoy being read to. Children can enjoy books written on a much higher level than they can easily read themselves, so it’s wise to have a range of reading levels available. A general guideline is to look for books with characters about two years older than your child.
Even after my daughter started reading on her own, we continued the tradition of her lying in bed while I read to her. In fact, this continued on, year after year. As the years passed, our reading material became a lot more sophisticated, but we never tired of the routine.
And then, one day, she found herself leaving for college!
What a lot of adventures we’d shared during those years that started with simple picture storybooks. I made a list and came up with a rough word count.
Ten million words.
Here are the books (those I can remember, anyway) that we enjoyed over the years.
The Shy Little Horse and hundreds of other short stories But Not the Hippopotamus and hundreds of other picture storybooks Pony Pals (many) RL Stein books (Many) The Cat in the Hat The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (many times) To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street Yertle the Turtle Horton Hears a Who Horton Hatches the Egg How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Lorax Madeleine (and its sequels) Bunnicula Howliday Inn Redwall Mossflower Mattimeo Alice in Wonderland Tom Sawyer (twice) Huckleberry Finn The Hobbit The Lord of the Rings The Silent Storm Walk Two Moons The Cave The Princess Bride The Dragon In the Cliff A Bone From a Dry Sea Letters From Felix The Princess and the Goblin Where the Wild Things Are The Wind In the Willows The Willows In Winter Peter Pan Peter Pan in Scarlet The Lion’s Paw The Phantom Toll Booth SOS Titanic Night Tree The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (about ten times) Wolf Story (many times) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Prince Caspian The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The Silver Chair The Horse and His Boy The Magician's Nephew The Last Battle The Indian In the Cupboard The Return of the Indian The Secret of the Indian The Mystery of the Cupboard The Key to the Indian The Westing Game Chasing Redbird Sarah Plain and Tall Dealing with Dragons (and its sequels) Rascal From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Island of the Blue Dolphins A Cricket In Times Square (and its sequels) The Wheel on the School Mary Poppins (the original novel) 101 Dalmatians (the original novel) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the original novel) Misty of Chincoteague (and its sequels) Hank, The Cowdog (and many sequels) A Night to Remember Back to Titanic Back to Lincoln Back to Paul Revere Goodnight Moon The Very Hungry Caterpillar The Wizard of Oz Green Eggs and Ham Stellaluna The Polar Express If You Give a Mouse a Cookie If You Give a Moose a Muffin The Napping House The Little Engine That Could Curious George Arthur series (many books) Berenstein Bears series (many books) Clifford series (many books) Linnea in Monet’s Garden The Boxcar Children series (many books) Charlotte’s Web A Wrinkle In Time The Secret Garden Island of the Blue Dolphins Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (and its sequels) The Trumpet of the Swan Mr. Popper’s Penguins Stuart Little The Borrowers series (many books) The Pearl Walker of Time Tag Against Time Walker's Journey Home She Flew No Flags Watership Down The Call of the Wild White Fang The Shipping News The Crystal Cave The Hollow Hills The Old Man and the Sea To Have and Have Not Myst: The Book of Atrus Myst: The Book of Ti’Ana Myst: The Book of D’ni On a Pale Horse Bearing an Hourglass With a Tangled Skein Wielding a Red Sword Being a Green Mother For Love of Evil And Eternity Perry Mason (several) Shutter Island Void Moon Chasing the Dime Harry Bosch novels (four or so) The Doomsday Book To Say Nothing of the Dog Lincoln’s Dreams Three Men in a Boat Three Men on the Bummel A Confederacy of Dunces The Mirror of her Dreams A Man Rides Through The Lincoln Hunters Harry Potter And the Sorcerer’s Stone Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire The Black Dahlia The Clan of the Cave Bear The Valley of Horses The Mammoth Hunters The Plains of Passage The Shelters of Stone Empire Falls Straight Man Nobody’s Fool Bridge of Sighs The Seventh Scroll The Time Traveler’s Wife The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Round Ireland with a Fridge Ring of Diamonds A Matter of Justice Everything In Its Path Cider House Rules The World According to Garp Snow Falling on Cedars East of the Mountains The Blind Assassin Oryx and Crake
And many, many more.