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Read, Read, Read!

The Case for Turning Your Kids into Bookworms

by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

Read, read, read!  If your children are like mine, they’re probably sick of hearing this.  But, it turns out that our frequent pleas to our kids to pick up a book aren’t wasted breath.  The more we can get our kids to read, especially for pleasure, the more prepared they will be.  Better prepared not only for school, but also for life.  More and more studies show that reading for pleasure not only increases fluency, vocabulary, and background knowledge, but it also increases general knowledge, a better understanding of other cultures, community involvement, more empathy when it comes to relationships with others, and greater insights when it comes to decision-making.  Add to that the fact that events focusing on reading for pleasure; like book clubs, book drives, reading contests, etc. can promote and enhance social skills in children. So, it makes sense that we as parents should step up our efforts to turn our kids into little bookworms. Looking for titles to get Junior to pick up?  Try these reads for November:

Ages 4 to 8

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, 2012), $15.99.  The little fish sees a hat he wants, so he takes it.  He knows it’s wrong, but he figured the hat was too small for the big fish that was wearing it.  And besides, thought the little fish, the big fish was asleep, would sleep for a long time, and even if he did wake up, he’d never know who took it.  You and your kids will chuckle as you read this snarky story about a little fish who tries to get away with thievery.

Oliver by Birgitta Sif (Candlewick Press, 2012), $16.99.  Oliver is different.  He knows he’s different.  And, he’s okay with being different.  He likes to be by himself.  But, he’s not really by himself, because he has his friends with him all the time – his stuffed animals and his toys.  But, is he the only one who feels different?  A whole new world opens up to Oliver when he embarks on his greatest adventure: going through a wild jungle and crossing over a river to meet another different person – Olivia.  A clever book with rich illustrations showing it’s okay for people to be different.

Bud the Spud by Adam Byrn Tritt (Axios Press, 2012), $16.95.  Sit sit!!!  Watch watch!!!  Bud was a kid who loved to watch TV.  But, Bud liked TV a little too much.  He liked TV more than going outside to play.  He liked TV more than playing with his friends.  Nobody could get Bud off the couch, unless it was time for Bud to get more food.  What happens when a kid eats too much and never, ever leaves the couch?  He turns into a couch potato (or spud) – literally.  An engaging book that offers three different endings ranging from upbeat to ghastly and guaranteed to make your kids cackle!

Ages 3 to 6

Charley’s First Night by Amy Hest (Candlewick Press, 2012), $15.99.  Henry Korn had a new best friend.  His name was Charley Korn, and he was a soft brown puppy with soft brown eyes.  Charley wanted Henry to carry him home through the snow that first night.  Henry wrapped him up in his old baby blanket and carried him home being extra careful not to slip in the snow.  Henry showed Charley all around his new home that first night.  Henry wanted Charley to sleep in his bed with him, but Mr. and Mrs. Korn said no.  Charley had his own soft pillow bed in the kitchen.  But, something happened in the night that made Henry really, really want to bring Charley into his bed.  This is a delightful tale of the beautiful bond between a boy and his dog that will warm the hearts of all readers.

Ages 9 to 12

Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Hyperian, 2012), $19.99  Bookworms hooked on these action mythology books won’t be disappointed as Percy, Hazel, Frank, Piper, Jason, and Leo join forces to complete the Prophecy of Seven.  But, who will be the one to complete the prophecy?  This is a continuation of the last Heroes of Olympus cliffhanger.

And for Mommy

Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax (Tantor Media, Inc, 2012), $39.99.  Looking for a second chance (or is it a third?) for a new start, Avery, Madeleine, and Nicole jump at the opportunity to participate in a new TV show called “Do Over.”  They arrive at their first “Do Over” home, a neglected mansion in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood, hoping for the best.  Their hope flickers as they see the state the mansion is in and realize that their personal lives are going to be lived out live in front of a national television audience.  Will they be able to restore the once-magnificent home to its former grandeur without sacrificing their privacy and dignity?  A wonderful read about unlikely friendships, tenacity, and bonds that go deeper than mold in a wall.

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Tags: Education, Featured Story

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