Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's a kind of magic . . .

I am thankful to my parents for making me a reader. They didn't do it with flash cards, tutors, or specialty software (was there even software when I was a very little girl?). Rather, I learned to love books because my parents did the following:

1. Read aloud to me.
2. Took me to the library.
3. Bought books for me and let me spend gift money I had on books.
4. Allowed me to stay up late reading books (though I'm not sure they knew how late I stayed up some nights).
5. Took me on vacations, during which I spent many happy hours reading books on the floor of our van as we traveled to our destination (if I tried that now, I would be so nauseous) and on deck chairs of all sorts.
6. Seldom gave me a hard time about preferring to read rather than play outside.
7. Set an example by being readers themselves.
8. Gave me the freedom to choose what I wanted to read.
9. Turned on lights for me so that I wouldn't "ruin my eyes."

I just read Mem Fox's Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. Though I didn't need to be convinced that reading aloud to children is a great idea, I still felt really inspired by Fox's book. Reading Magic just reinforces how reading aloud brings you closer to your kids and how important early, positive, fun experiences with books and reading are to kids' future learning. Even if you already read to your kids, read this book so you can feel really good about what you're doing. If you're not reading as often as you would like, this book will give you the motivation to make more story time. If you don't get a chance to read Reading Magic, you can check out Mem Fox's "Ten Read-Aloud Commandments."

Hubby and I just brainstormed a list of some of the books we like to read aloud to Bub and Little Bit. This is just a top-of-our-heads list and not a survey of all the great children's books in the world. So, in no particular order, here are some books we like to read aloud . . .

I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss and Mary Blair
Give Me Grace by Cynthia Rylant
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Good Night Sweet Butterflies by Dawn Bentley, Melanie Gerth, and Heather Cahoon*
And Here's To You by David Elliott and Randy Cecil
Incredible You! 10 Ways to Let Your Greatness Shine Through by Wayne Dyer
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert
Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch and Sheila McGraw**
If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

There are more, and I'm sure if I were writing this while looking at our bookshelves, this list might be completely different and definitely much longer.

You know what's coming, right? Please share. What books do you--parents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, teachers, grandparents, friends, neighbors--like to read aloud to the children in your life?

*on my list but not hubby's
**I enjoy this book, but I cannot read it aloud without crying if I am in a particularly vulnerable, emotional mood


Sue and Randy said...

I have never even tried to get through "I love you forever" with a child in the room--I cry just thinking about it. I also used to cry through "guess how much I love you" when I was on maternity leave with my first. I think that was just hormones.
My husband is the reader at bedtime, but you've inspired me to get Fox's book, and try to incorporate reading/story time with both of my girls, not just at bedtime. Great post!

PITA said...

As a reading specialist, ntb, I will second the importance of reading to your children. There are easily detected differences between kids who are read to and kids who are not. There are so many wonderful books to read aloud. Sometimes it is not even the book you read, but how you read it! That is my teacher plug for the day.

E... said...

O. seems to have moved away from a phase of wanting all the same books read over and over, instead preferring whatever new ones we've picked at the library, (except for anything with a dinosaur in it, those he wants all the time). However, The Very Hungry Caterpillar recently made a resurgence, and he often chooses Animalia by Graeme Base at bedtime. Some of our old favorites are on your list: I'd add The Little Train by Lois Lenski, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, We're Going On a Bear Hunt. N. loves anything with a picture of a baby in it, or animals that she can mimic, or any book you sing to her. The Baby Einstein Neighborhood Animals, Babies illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa, and the golden book version of Old MacDonald (I dislike the illustrations in this one: Old Mac has goofy dance moves) are perennial faves of hers.

msh said...

love this post. i love talking about favorite kids books almost as much as i love talking about my favorite books for myself! i will definitely check out a few on your list that i haven't read yet. and are just a few of my all-time faves that immediately come to mind: "some dogs do" by jez alborough, "when dinosaurs came with everything" by elise broach, "alice the fairy" by david shannon, "down to the sea with mr. magee" by chris van dusen.

Actchy said...

I like to think we might be responsible for introducing the Bub to "Chica Chica"?

We are already reading several times a day with Acey (though I am the only one to go through entire books. Even the shortest books are too long for my husband, who is already notorious for skipping pages.) "Give Me Grace" is frequently on the rotation, thanks to the MEP household, and Acey ejoys the photos in "Hungry Caterpiller" and "Brown Bear."

I cannot get through "Someday" by McGhee and Reynolds or "On the Night You Were Born" by Nancy Tillman without full-out crying. These were gifts from my sister and Mom, respectively, and are so beautiful. "Someday" seems more geared for little girls, but this doesn't seem to matter to me. Or Acey.

Katie Irvine said...

Oh, Megan. This is one of the things I love most about you! You know that I share your love (bordering on obsession) of children's books and of course have a ton of suggestions to share (do you have an hour?!). Here are a few favorites:

Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tomie de Paola
Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Flotsam by David Wiesner
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
Olivia by Ian Falconer
No, David! by David Shannon
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Ox-Cart Man by Barbara Cooney & Donald Hall
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

I could go on and on! Hope we can find some time to catch up soon! xoxo Katie

lap said...

Do people really just know authors off the top of their heads? Sorry that I am too lazy to provide them with my list...

Here are some favorites at our house:
Fancy Nancy
Santa Mouse
Natalie and Naughtily
Dora at the Carnival (I HATE tv show books, but I had to list it since we've read it so often that Swiper can dictate it almost word for word.)
A Box of Treats (five little books in a case...all about different sweet treats)
There are a couple on MEP's list that I could list as well, probably because either she or m puchased them for my kids

It's great having an aunt/sister who loves to buy books as gifts as it keeps our rotation fresh:)

Amy said...

Love this post because I was just making a list of some books to look for at the library for Annika, now I have more. These are the big favorites at our house:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
In case you ever wonder (Max Lucado)
If you give a Pig a Pancake
If you give a Moose a Muffin
Stand Tall Molly Lew Mellon

Thanks for sharing the others.

CaraBee said...

Sophie is only just starting to get into being read to, and even then we rarely make it through a book. I worry sometimes that I'm not reading to her enough, but she just doesn't seem interested. Painful for me to say that, reader that I am. I am optimistic that when she gets a little older, we can delve more deeply into books.

One she does enjoy, though, is a bath book where she grabs my finger and uses it to poke the animals in it while I make the appropriate animal sounds.

Anonymous said...

My parents did the very same things. I love reading and have a hard time when I hear others say, "they don't like to read books."

The first time I read "Love You Forever" I was babysitting and had no idea what was in store. I was 15 yrs. old reading to the kid and when I got to the end I almost lost it to the kid. I remember telling the father when he came home how emotional I got and how could he get through it. To this day that book still gets me.

kathy mick prough said...

hey meg
i love this . one of my very favorite books is I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER. we also, are big on reading to our kids... and have seen the benefits; alex has soared in first grade and is one of the top readers. i say this not because "top" means anything to me, but because if he is one of the tops, then he is feeling some independence, some self confidence, and i can only imagine as he reads aloud in school that he has no fear, etc. i am glad to know his reading has taken off. our parents read to us, and we used the library a lot, though i dare say we use it a lot more even now being parents ourselves. i am so thankful. you gotta love reading! now.... if i could only work on carving out my OWN PERSONAL TIME to read..... love ya

Liz said...

First of all, Mem Fox is AWESOME and so is her reading magic book! Some children's books of hers I also LOVE (I have a whole basket of her books in my classroom library) are...Tough Boris, Time for Bed, Hattie and the Fox, Wilfred Gordon McDonald Patridge, Whoever You Are(really all of her books are great :)

Some of our other favs. in the Gruber house are...

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Any Little Critter Book
Chicken Soup with Rice
Alice the Fairy
Anything by Kevin Henkes (the little box of treats are short and sweet books)
The Stray Dog
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible...

The list could go on and on, but there are lots of our faves already mentioned in others comments. One of my "dreams" is to own a children's bookstore and have storytime everyday. At least teaching first grade I get to read a lot of books aloud.
I too cannot even come close to reading Love You Forever without crying...
Thanks for sharing and spreading the word about reading aloud!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Megan for a wonderful post. I love Children's Literature and could sit and read to my kids all afternoon if time and other things allowed it. We do have set times per day and then when the mood hits we fit it in. It is funny when I think of my list of favorites I am with Laurie the authors aren't off the top of my head but here goes...

Little Quack (the entire series of 4) My oldest was in love with ducks when she was little so it fit our profile and is still so cute.)

You're all of my favorites

The Little Engine That Could

Make Way for Ducklings

Goodnight Moon

Dora series (not my favorite but the girls love them._

The BOB series for emergent literacy

There's a Mouse About the House (USBORNE BOOK)

Sandra Boynton's Books

Tails, Dogs, Alphabet (All interactive books)
Seriously we read all of the time at my house so the list could go on and on...

Recently I found a set of books that were mine when I was little. They are called "Sweet Pickles." They have several different characters with unique personalities. My girls love the fact that my name is written by a six year old me in them. They are not the best example of Children's literature but they love them. It is fun to share this experience with them. Thanks for sharing... BDAVIN

Liz said...

I have the entire set of Sweet Pickles too! (most of them autgraphed by me as well :) Such great memories!!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! I love to hear what others are reading to their children. We are book readers over here, too....I'm a huge fan of reading aloud to the kids! We love the Curious George books, anything Scooby Doo, Where the Wild Things Are, The Polar Express, The Cat in the Hat (and nearly all the Dr Seuss books), any books with trucks, tools, or kids dressed up as "bad guys!" Thanks for all the good ideas. I'm off to the library tomorrow! Rita

Maggie said...

Loved this post MEP! I totally agree with PITA there is a definite difference in children's language and reading early on and later on in school when they are read aloud to. I can see the differences among toddlers' and preschoolers' language skills every day at school. It really does make a big impact! There are so many wonderful books the list goes on and on. A few of my favs at school are...
Brown Bear, Brown Bear
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?
Here are my Hands
Jack-It's a Rainy Day

Melissa Walters said...

Everyone gave such great book lists. I don't know if I can think of anymore. One thing I loved as a child and my Kindergartners loved was listening to books on tape or cd now I guess. Especially if you have headphones. But even if you don't. I spent hours as a child listening to my favorite stories told in voices and trying to keep my finger on the right words.

My students also enjoyed books with motions like there was an old lady who wasn't afraid of anything. Books with songs, like drummer boy, Any of the Five Little ______ books (bats, bunnies, monkeys, they have one for every holiday), I like my t-shirt, I like the rain, etc.
and books that repeat like there was an old lady who swallowed a fly. They also have one for Thanksgiving (there was an old lady who swallowed a pie), and Christmas (there was an old lady who swallowed a bell). I could just go on and on...I loved teaching Kindergarten and teaching kids to love to read.


CJR said...

I am afraid they were right about the eyes. Lately I turn on three different lights to read and can't make out the score of the game from across the room. The key books are "the Bumper Book," "Christopher Cricket," "Best tales of the Yukon" and children's poetry anthologies.

cake said...

click clack moo
two eggs, please.
journey cake, ho!
ten minutes 'til bedtime
go dog, go!

above is a short list of some of our favorites, off the top of my head. carl cannot read _cowboy ned and andy_, or _when you are happy_ without tearing up, and i cannot read _chicken sunday_ without outright bawling. i don't know many of the books on your list, and can't wait to look for them at our library. i, too, am working on finding more places in the day to read with cosmo. he loves it anytime, and so do i.

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