After playing with a marble game, we snuggled on the couch and I read books to them. They were exceptionally snuggly – which I absolutely loved!
Their soft little arms linked through mine . . . their tender cheek pressed against my arm . . . taking turns sitting on my lap with my arms wrapped around them . . . . kissing their little necks . . . You won’t hear me complain at all about snuggling and reading with grandkids. No siree, Bob!
There’s nothing that I love better than snuggling with my kids and my grandkids and reading to them. (Somehow, nowadays my kids don’t want to snuggle so much with me . . . don’t understand why . . . )
Which reminds me!
Monday, March 2 is Read Across America.
This is a wonderful opportunity to have a let’s-snuggle-and-read-books-together experience with your grandkiddos.
Fact: As many as 8 million children between the ages of 4 and 13 are affected by reading problems.
Fact: 38% of 4th graders in a recent study could not read at basic level.
Fact: 26% of 8th graders in a recent study could not read at basic level.
Fact: 23% of 12th Graders in a recent study could not read at a basic level.
As a grandparent, you can have a great influence on your grandchild’s reading. If you are retired, you most likely have more time to read to and with a grandchild than parents do.
Reading together can help your grandchild increase her reading ability but more importantly it will help your grandchild increase her love for reading. When a child has positive experiences being read to, that increases her desire to read.
Here are 11 suggestions that you, dear Grandma, can do with your grandchildren to help build a love for reading.
- Take a grandchild to a library and let her select books to read. Let her interest determine which books to get. Then, go home and snuggle and read the book.
- Take a grandchild to a bookstore to pick out a book that you buy and give to the grandchild. When she gets to select her own book, that book becomes special to the child who will then read it often.
- If you do not live close enough to a grandchild to take her to the library or bookstore, buy a book and give it to your grandchild as a birthday or Christmas gift. To make it even more special, buy a book ‘just because’ and mail it to your grandchild. She will be thrilled to get mail and thrilled to get a book.
- When a new grandchild is born, give the new parents a gift of 2-3 picture books for the baby. Write a little message to your grandchild inside the book’s cover expressing your love for her.
- As you read to your grandchild, use plenty of expression. Take turns saying different words using different voices.
- As you read to a grandchild, occasionally stop and ask her what she think is going to happen next. Even if she has heard the book before, she will love explaining what will happen next.
- Establish a Grandma and Me book club. For pre-reading grandchildren, set a goal to read a certain number of books together by a certain date. When you accomplish the goal, go out for an ice cream cone or milk shake. If your grandchild lives far away, see if the parents could read to the child. You can have a book club with grandchildren who can read independently, too. Make sure the number of books to-be-read to earn the reward is modest enough so the grandchild won’t be overwhelmed and discouraged.
- If your grandchildren live far away, use your smart phone to take a video of you reading a book. If the file is small enough, e-mail it to the child’s parent. If it’s large, upload it to YouTube so the grandchild can watch it. (Ask your children for help if you need some tech support to do this!)
- If your grandchild can read chapter books, have her select a book. Then, both of your read it and discuss it as you read along.
- For distant grandchildren, use Skype to read to a child. Pay close attention to your grandchild’s attention span. If she cannot focus and sit still, just flip through the book and look at the pictures. Asking questions as you read along can help her maintain focus.
- Invite your grandchild over and have a special dinner based around a book. For instance, if your grandchild is reading a Harry Potter book, have him ‘dress up’ by wearing a cape.. Serve things like butterbeer (root beer) and edible wands (licorice).
- Occasionally check out a library book that is a joke book. Grandkids will love reading those together!
The National Association of Education surveyed grade-school kids asking them to list their favorite books. I was surprised to see the list. Many of them were books that my kids read. That tells me that these books could be considered ‘classical’ children’s literature because over time they still appeal to children.
So, if you want to give a book to a grandchild as a gift, consider getting one from this list. Most likely, your grandchild will love it!
Top 34 Kids Books Recommended by Kids
Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling
Goosebumps (series) by R. L. Stine
Arthur (series) by Marc Brown
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Shiloh (trilogy) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
The BFG by Roald Dahl
The Boxcar Children (series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (series) by Beverly Cleary
The Babysitters Club (series) by Ann M. Martin
Ralph S. Mouse (series) by Beverly Cleary
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
The Adventures of Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
A Wrinkle in Time (series) by Madeleine L’Engle
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Redwall by Brian Jacques
White Fang by Jack London
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan