Gifts of Reading, Gifts of Memories








Joni's recent post is dead right. The failure to transmit the joy of reading is dumbing down society. I thought of this while waiting around the drugstore the other day and looking at some oldies but goodies that brought back such sweet memories. Language, love, and self-esteem are far more likely to be transmitted a child snuggles next to a parent, another loved one, or sits, rapt, with other children as a teacher reads to a class than any of the Genius Baby software/video learning systems out there. As a longtime educator and a lifetime book lover, I can tell you that human children are designed to imprint upon adults, not pixels, and there's plenty of research out there to prove that reading with a child just 20 minutes a day improves language, reading skills, and even IQ (all test scores rise, including math, which is largely tested through word problems these days). I can also say that the parent (or parental figure's) enthusiasm for reading is frequently contagious, so why not share an old favorite with a child this holiday season?

The Polar Express - My son's about to graduate high school, but we still drag out this classic (the book and not the movie) every holiday season. Magical.

Curious George - Once again, don't succumb to the temptation to pop in the video. Even Forest Gump was smart enough to introduce this long-time favorite to a child.

The Poky Little Puppy. I'm sure my mom wanted to burn this book, I demanded so many rereadings. And the classic edition is still only $2.99. You gotta love those Little Golden Books.

Where the Wild Things Are - My son's all-time fave. Maurice Sendak's illustrations are wonderful art, too!

I could go on and on, but instead I'll ask what are some of your favorite children's book recommendations? Which books did you love as a child or love reading to a child?

Comments

Suzan Harden said…
Reading before bedtime has become a family event at our house. LOL - Harry Potter is the big thing right now (currently still on OOTP and trying to get to HBP before the movie comes out). I do all the funny voices of the characters, and both my husband and my son are amazed by how much more happens in the books than what can be shown in a two-hour movie. But I've also been reading Dr. Seuss, the OZ series, Stuart Little, Chronicles of Narnia (VBG)...
The Harry Potter books have been a real gift, on so many levels. Parents enjoy reading them to/with their kids (and on their own). Kids love them enough to tackle increasingly more challenging sequels - and often, to venture off into other fantasy series. By making the releases a fun event, wonderful memories of reading - and reading as a family - have developed. And the quality of young adult books has definitely been elevated as their popularity has enabled the best (or at least the most popular) YA authors to earn a living wage, something almost impossible in years past.

And I love Dr. Seuss and the Narnia books. I also recommend - esp. since you like to do voices - Hank the Cowdog. The first few in the series are hilarious.

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