Parenting books can be valuable, even if they just convey the idea that other parents are going through the same trials and tribulations that you are. Working in the Children’s Room of a library, I often have parents tell me that their children hate to read. I strongly believe that there are really no children who hate to read, but there are children who have not found the most inspiring types of books for them – the book that touches their heart, tickles their funny bone, or leads them to investigate a topic more thoroughly.
When my boys were six and three-years-old, I was reading a parenting book that recommended repeating what children said – sort of an “I’m really hearing you” practice. My oldest son looked at me and asked, “Mom, is that book on the kitchen table the reason you are talking so funny to us?” That pretty much put an end to that exercise.
While every method won’t work for every child, books about reading strategies will help you find what works best for your children. Here are a selection of books that will help you find that magic genre without alienating the young reader along the way:
Raising Passionate Readers: 5 East Steps to Success in School and Life by Nancy Newman suggests incorporating simple and fun language and literacy activities into everyday life. Newman says, “Words are like vitamins for your child’s developing brain,” and she encourages parents to talk to their children – even infants and toddlers. Her book helps parents support and motivate readers, especially struggling ones.
Help Me Get Ready To Read: The Practical Guide For Reading Aloud To Children During Their First Five Years by Susan Marx and Barbara Kasok is another handbook for creating literacy habits. It is a book for all adults who read aloud to children – not just parents, but grandparents, literacy volunteers, daycare providers, librarians and early childhood professionals. The book provides tips for caregivers to understand concepts and skills in early literacy pursuits and includes a listing of 275 books to read aloud.
Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More by Lori Day M.Ed. with Charlotte Kugler is another helpful title for caregivers and the girls in their lives. Mother-daughter books clubs create a sense of community and provide a venue to open up dialogue, drawn from appropriate literature and related to the lives of girls.
A thoughtful parenting book, recently released in paperback, quite interesting and something of a manual for free spirits, is The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Shefali Tsabary PhD. It has a forward by the Dalai Lama. Yes, it is that introspective, but comfortable in its teaching style. It suggests that parents look inside themselves to understand why they deal with their children in the way that they do. Lots of interesting insight into relationships between parents and children.
Don’t forget to read in front of your children. Reading – yes, books for you – will model the practice for your kids and encourage the idea that reading is fun and worthwhile.
Laurie Collins is the Children’s Librarian at Ipswich Public Library in Ipswich, MA. She is author of “The Pajamas of My Dreams” and is a Mass Literacy Champion.