Children’s Literature

I got permission from my friend Debbie to share her notes and lists from the portion of the literature class that she taught. Debbie is amazing. She really knows her stuff. I enjoyed listening to her that night because everything she said I would have said. Anyway, her class was on learning to read and loving to read. Here’s her notes:

According to Sylvia Rimm, an American psychologist specializing in parenting, child development and learning, the 3 things that will help your children be successful in life are: Instill in them a love of learning, keep them reading, and create/maintain a good relationship with them.
Also, Thomas S. Monson says this in his talk “Hallmarks of a Happy Home,” Ensign, Oct 2001 “An essential part of our learning library will be good books.

Reading is one of the true pleasures of life. In our age of mass culture, when so much that we encounter is abridged, adapted, adulterated, shredded, and boiled down, it is mind-easing and mind-inspiring to sit down privately with a congenial book.

Young children also enjoy books and love to have their parents read to them.”

If you come to understand what a vital role reading will play in your child’s life, this will come more easily. Deliberate things you can do are to read in front of them yourself, to read to them (or have them read to you), and to talk to them about their stories—all of them frequently! If they see your excitement, they won’t be able to resist. Also, don’t forget to build your own home library and to go to the library or book store together often!

Tips to success:
-Have them sit on your lap, back to belly.
-Involve as many of your five senses as possible when reading together (ex. sniff the air to smell the flowers in the book or listen to the wind blow). Touch and Feel books are fun for this.
-Be interactive (This will already be happening some as you use your 5 senses). Use fun, animated voices! Basically let your creativity flow and you will find both you and your child enjoying yourselves immensely.
-Discover what books your child enjoys. Have your child circle the books he/she is interested in on the Scholastic book order catalogs. You can use these as a library list or to build your own home library.
-Pull in other parts of their world by reading books about things that are familiar to their life (i.e. family events/characteristics, going to the park, Disney, potty training, etc.)
-for older kids, talk a lot to other parents and have your kids ask their friends for ideas of good books. Series are fun, and libraries are great resources! Ask librarians or consult their lists they already have put together. I like to encourage Newbery Honor books as well, to add a “classic” style in to what they already enjoy reading. Just google “Newbery books” for a list.

While our brains are naturally capable of language development, reading requires a lot more training—especially learning to read English! While the Spanish language has 35 sounds and 38 ways to spell those sounds, English has 44 sounds and over 1,100 ways to spell them! It takes time and repetition for it all to sink in.

Pieces to the puzzle of learning to read include learning letters, letter sounds, sight words, single syllable words (like cat, mom, sun), then double syllable words, and finally moving on to more complex short words. It sounds complex, but by simply reading to your children you will already be teaching them a lot of it!

Our family has some fun ways to introduce them to the beginning stages of reading—I will just mention a few. To start, we have bath foam letters and numbers. They stick to foreheads and bath walls and are so fun! We just talk and learn while bathing. We also love The Letter Factory movie by Leapfrog ($10 at Target). It teaches the sounds of letters in a fun memorable way.

We love to start with books that are simple and colorful—like Happy Baby board books and other books that they want to read over and over. The familiarity helps boost their confidence to make them feel like they are already “reading”, and the memorization is great for brain development! From this point on, we try to read books that work on things like word families (cat, mat, hat, bat) and other simple ideas. Sometimes we throw in something that is not as fun like sight-word flashcards to help in an area they are not as strong in. Another great tool is to have your children read from the Book of Mormon. It has a lot of simple repetitive words and phrases—great for learning to read!

The key to all of it is not to force it. When it stops being fun, the learning stops too. Just remember to enjoy the process and the stories. Happy reading!

For all children: Where the Sidewalk Ends

-Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald, 5 Little Monkeys (incorporates song and/or rhyme)
-From Head to Toe by Eric Carle (interactive)
-Any Disney book! (familiarity and repetition)
-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault (fun ABC book)
-No, David! by David Shannon (most David Shannon books are great)
-Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
-Happy Baby board books (Things That Go or Words)
-“Step Into Reading” or “I Can Read” series (find any they are interested in—around $3.00 each at Wal-Mart. These series are automatically leveled for you which is nice!)
-Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
-Take Me Out of the Bathtub by Alan Katz (singing)
Any and all Dr. Suess books!
Go Away Big Green Monster
Silly Sally
Caps for Sale
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Goodnight Moon
Joseph had a little overcoat
Llama, llama, red pajama
Where There’s a Bear, There’s Trouble
The Unvalentine by Sam Beeson
The Very Busy Spider
Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
Red Hat Green Hat
The Line-Up Book
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry , and the Big Hungry Bear (all-time favorite!)

A LITTLE OLDER (ages 5-8)
Junie B Jones books
Magic Tree House series
Rainbow Magic Fairies series
American Girl series
Magic School Bus series
Disney Fairies series
*library books are great for this stage as it the shortest stage of reading.
(Ask others for more ideas!)

OLDEST (8-12)
Maniac Magee
The Giver
Sara Plain and Tall
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
Julie of the Wolves
Bud, Not Buddy
Where the Red Fern Grows
A Wrinkle in Time
Call of the Wild
Ender’s Game
Little Women
City of Ember
Earthquake Terror
Because of Winn Dixie
Chasing Vermeer
Riding Freedom
The Watsons Go to Birmingham
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Jeremy Thatcher
Running Out of Time
My Side of the Mountain
Little House on the Prairie series
Anne of Green Gables series
Inkheart series
Leven Thumps series
Sister’s Grimm series
Mysterious Benedict Society series
Gregor the Overlander series
Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series
Eragon series
Percy Jackson series
Fablehaven series
Harry Potter series
Charlie Bone series
Guardians of Ga’Hoole series
Artemis Fowl series
Gatekeeper series
Alex Rider series
Looking Glass Wars series
books by Roald Dahl
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

2 responses to “Children’s Literature

  1. You can start even earlier. Read to children in the womb. Sing the alphabet to newborns. Sit babies on your lap and show them stuff on the computer. Don’t wait until they are toddlers. 🙂

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