Raising a Reader

Snow days and more snow days.  Was there ever a better time to find a cozy spot and get lost in a book?  My daughter has recently started really enjoying chapter books, although she continues to find enjoyment in picture books as well.  I have spent a lot time since having children working on our picture book collection.  I wanted to have all kinds of different titles at their fingertips.  We have fiction and nonfiction, books about all four seasons, books about famous women and men who have contributed to our society, cultural titles (many of these from Barefoot Books), and books about anything they've show an interest in over the years.  Now that my daughter needs new and challenging works to read, I have a fresh task on my hands.

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I tend to organize my projects by themes or subjects so that I know I'm covering all sorts of topics.

The first subject I tackled was nature because I knew she would relate.  She loves to be outside playing in the sun or snow and will head out of doors every chance she gets.  Three of her favorites are:

Sarah, Plain and Tall
By Patricia MacLachlan
Caddie Woodlawn
By Carol Ryrie Brink

I decided to add a few works of poetry to her collection.  My daughter enjoys the spontaneity of picking up a book of poetry and flipping to any page to read.  Poetry for Young People represents many different authors and subjects.  Here are three titles that she picks up again and again:

We read "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" before seeing the play and she really enjoyed it.  This inspired me to grab a few different books describing different cultures:

Tortilla Sun
By Jennifer Cervantes
The Birchbark House
By Louise Erdrich

I added some books about bravery as well.  Children are brave every day and so can identify with and even find inspiration in characters in their favorite books:

The Borrowers
By Mary Norton
The Ordinary Princess
By M. M. Kaye

Who doesn't like a good adventure story?  We really enjoyed reading these titles:

I check out most of these from the library and place them strategically around our home. One on our coffee table, one at her breakfast table and maybe one on her bed.  Curiously, she ends up picking them up and trying them out.  Other incentives include family book clubs, going out to eat at a restaurant that serves similar food as a book (she and her grandmother went out for dim sum after they both read Dumpling Days), going to a play based on a book (when I see which shows are being performed, I always grab the book first), renting a movie based on a book and if possible visiting the home of the author or the place of the setting.  We have plans to take a day trip to Emily Dickinson's home in Amherst, MA to learn more about her.  

The book we are currently reading is The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carolo Collodi.  The Wheelock Family Theatre is doing a performance of this book now through February 22nd.  

Do you have any favorite chapter books in your home that you are willing to share with us?


On our shelves to read next...