The last few years I’ve been making a virtual collection on Instagram of pictures of my kids reading using a hashtag. If hashtags are a bit foreign to you – basically, when I share a photo of one of my kids reading I add #Campbell7NoseStuckInABook When I add that hashtag, it adds the photo to a collection of photos with the same hashtag. I use hashtags for personal collections quite often. It is fun to look back and see certain themes!
Each time I post pictures of the kids reading, I am asked about what books they like to read. With 5 kids, there are 5 different preferences related to books. My oldest has definitely set the tone for our home regarding helping everyone else see books as a retreat and reading as fun. I’m so grateful for his unintentional leadership in this area.
We make a trip to the library almost every week. I’ve learned if I keep a basket of library books out in the living room, my kids end up reading more often. When they get bored, they see the basket and pick up a book. When we go to the library, I pretty much let them pick out whatever they want (that is age and theme appropriate).
Many of you have asked what my kids like to read, so I asked the boys for a few recommendations.I asked my oldest to pull out a few of his favorite books, ones he would recommend to other kids his age. These were the top of his list (not all pictured)
The Hardy Boys series
The War of the Worlds
The Cat of Bubastes
Wonder (I bought this one based on recommendations from a few parents of cleft affected kids. I read it first and then we discussed it. He has re-read it several times.)
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Gregor the Overlander (the whole series)
My 10 year old does not LOVE to read. He reads every day, but only a few times a week will go pick up a book without my prompting. When I asked him his favorites, he said:
The Little House on the Prairie Series
The Great Illustrated Classics Series (he really liked the ones pictured)
My 8 year old has recently become a big fan of reading. His favorites are:
The Magic Tree House Series
Nate the Great
He also tends to pick up the books his brothers sit down and reads those.
The girls are not reading much on their own yet. Typically, I read chapter books to them and my 6 year old daughter reads shorter books to me. Both girls have been using Red Apple Reading online to improve their reading skills. I’ve seen a ton of progress with each of them through that program.
Lastly, I am often asked about how I pick what books the kids read. I don’t. I buy a lot of books (for homeschool) based on reading lists from other parents I trust. I buy most of the classics to have on hand too. When we head to the library and they pick out books, I try to do a quick internet search if I have a concern. My oldest son reads an entire book almost every day. I could never keep up with him. We talk about the books he reads and the topics discussed. Every parent is so different regarding what they allow their children to read. I think you have to find what works best for you and your kids.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for reading lists and book recommendations.
The Read-Aloud Handbook (Trelease) – this is a great resource to get ideas for books to read-aloud and books I want to recommend for my kids. A lot of the books I end up buying to have on hand for all the kids are ones I chose based on what I found in this book.
A Half Hundred Acre Wood – Each summer I scour her old posts and pdf reading lists. I narrow down the books I want to use for each of my kids. These lists coincide for Classical Conversations families, but the books listed are so good. If you do not do Classical Conversations, just ignore that part and look at book titles. It takes some digging, so I usually set aside a few hours and make lots of notes. I wrote more about this process in this older post.
Ambleside Online – I could use this far more than I do. You can find reading lists for various topics and grade levels. It is such a great resource when I want to find books for the kids to read that tie into what we are learning about in ‘class’.
Our home school schedule definitely allows for ample time to read every day. My kids get bored daily, so they pick up a book. Talking with friends whose kids are in more traditional school settings, I know the extra reading time can be difficult to find. I don’t have any advice or wisdom in that regard. If any of you have tips for how you encourage reading despite very full schedules for your kids, please share your insight – I know many would appreciate it!