Photo credit: John-Morgan / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
We all know that children who read in their free time tend to do well academically. However, encouraging a love of reading in the time of tablets and televisions is no easy task. With summer reading programs just around the corner, ChoreMonster has compiled a list of our most-loved books your kids will appreciate reading either with you or on their own time.
Not A Box by Antoinette Portis
Age Range: Up to Grade 1
Not A Box is the simple story of a Rabbit and his imagination. People keep asking Rabbit why he is playing in a box, but Rabbit replies that it is not a box, but a racecar, or a rocket ship, or a hot air balloon. I actually read this while teaching Art to first graders. After we finished reading, I gave each child a construction paper square, which they then glued onto a larger sheet of paper. Students were tasked with creating their own “Not-A-Box’s”, and I have to say, it was one of the most successful lessons I’ve ever taught.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Age Range: Up to Grade 3
This fairy tale is turned upside down when the Princess Elizabeth has to rescue Prince Ronald, whom she is intended to marry, from a Dragon. Empowering to young girls, while also entertaining and clever for both genders, this book is sure to be enjoyed.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Age Range: Preschool to Grade 4
I have to admit, I discovered this Klassen book as an Adult, looking through picture books at Target. The images are attractive and the text almost lyrical. A clever twist ending will leave both you and your kids rolling on the floor in a fit of giggles.
Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
Age Range: Kindergarten to Grade 4
Junie B. Jones is a heroine I loved as a child. She’s a first grader and has to deal with typical first grade problems – class projects, school busses, roosters who will “peck your head into a nub”, and her classroom rival, Jim. This is a fairly expansive series of simple chapter books, so as your child grows she will be able to continue with Junie on her own.
Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Age Range: Grade 2 to Grade 5
Where The Sidewalk Ends is a collection of strange poems that should be in every home. Full of illustrations, silly words, and sometimes profound ideas, Shel Silverstein’s works have been popular for over forty years. Each poem is at most a page or two, meaning you and your child can fit one in ten minutes or less.
Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli
Age Range: Grade 4 to Grade 7
Maniac McGee is the only book on this list intended for a middle-school reader, but, as my grandma read it to me, younger children will still be able to enjoy it. Maniac is orphaned unexpectedly, and goes on adventures while discovering hidden talents and new friends. It is a wonderful starting point for introducing your kids to concepts like homelessness, racism, and making tough decisions in a light-hearted story with a happy ending. And, if you love Maniac, Spinelli’s story about a tenth-grader, Stargirl, is just as fantastic.
Which books do your children ask you to read over and over again?