I read somewhere that to foster the love of reading in your children the most important thing you can do is to read yourself. Just as they mimic your words when they are babies to learn to speak, they will follow your lead to learn to read. Now I know what you're thinking...the problem is once you have children, the time you have to read (something other than a magazine at the dentist's office) greatly diminishes. At least it did for me. And I LOVE reading. So we read to our children instead, which of course is critical to our children's reading development too.
Now as my kids head back to school, it's a good time to refocus some of my energy on reading, for them and for me. Reading books is such a wonderful way to learn. You get to explore far away places, experience unique cultures, delve into the minds of fascinating people--all without leaving your sofa. Reading helps you expand your world and gain a greater appreciation for humanity. Recently as my kids started reading more fluently and bringing home reading assignments, I began reading some of the books they were reading. This allowed me to keep on top of their progress at school, while giving me a glimpse into what might be swirling around in their brains. Bonus--they usually take less time to read. Whether reading together or separately, this practice will give you something to bond over and open up opportunities to discuss important issues kids face today.
My oldest son read 'Wonder' by R.J. Palacio and recommended that I read it. It was beautiful. It was written for young readers but I think it should be required reading. "Choose kindness" is a message everyone can champion. A friend then recommended that he read 'The One and Only Ivan' by Katherine Applegate. We decided we'd read that one aloud together so his siblings could hear. That first night, none us wanted to stop reading. And after I finally put them to bed, I took the book and read the whole thing in one night. It was that good.
Two years ago, I was lucky enough to introduce Katherine Applegate at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC in the children's pavilion. She was lovely and engaging, just as you imagine the writer of this terrific book would be. The event is sponsored by the Library of Congress, and it's one of my favorites of the year. Authors are treated like rock stars, rightly so, and readers young and old come to hear them speak and celebrate the joy of reading. This will be my seventh year introducing a guest author and I'm excited to introduce David Baldacci. Buzz Aldrin will there, so will Kate Dicamillo, and many many more. If you're in DC on Saturday September 5th, I highly recommend that you come to check out your favorite books. https://event.crowdcompass.com/natbookfest15
Here are current recommendations from each of my kids: 'Roxaboxen' by Barbara Cooney, 'House of Robots' by James Patterson, and 'Because of Mr. Terupt' by Rob Buyea. Happy reading!