Why Book Reading Is Beneficial for Children? Books Which Parents Can?
Created by Payal Updated on Nov 20, 2019
Reading is a gift we could give to our child by introducing her to books early in life. A child may be initiated to the look and feel of books from the age she can sit up or hold objects. This gets children interested in reading early on. Studies have shown that reading results in higher aptitude in children and make preschool easier. They also understand the language better and have better problem-solving skills.
"When I was a kid, my father told me that a good book is a friend for life. I grew up in a house full of books my earliest memories are of my family relaxing cozily with books on a Sunday afternoon. It was only natural that I followed suit. When I was four years old, my father bought me a set of fairy tale books – Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Little Red Riding Hood. I read them until the pages almost came apart, and I still have them with me. At a time when Soviet literature was entering the country, I grew up hearing stories from Bengali folklore (from Thakumar Jhuli, or Grandmother’s Bag of Tales) on one hand, and Russian tales of Ivan and Igor on the other."
Since then, there has been no looking back, and I have a vast library today. I can safely say, that with my books, I’ll never lack a friend.
What Are The Benefits of Book Reading?
Introducing your child early to books has a huge impact on her development, and at the same time, helps you build a beautiful bond with her.
- An Early Start: From a water-proof bath, books to read aloud children’s novels, your child may be initiated to the look and feel of books from the age she can sit up or hold objects. This will introduce your child to reading, and the wonderful world of creativity early on. She will also have better language and problem-solving skills
- Builds a Bond: While your toddler is a bundle of energy, running around, jumping, and playing all day, some time of reading together at night gives you the time to bond with your child in a way nothing else can. It will also give you the time to talk to him and have him listen and communicate with you, and also share some important life lessons through a book
- Better Communication Skills: Children who are read to from an early age have been seen to be able to express themselves better. The dialogues in the book and the dialogue you have with your child about the book will strengthen their skills of communication
- Dealing with Problems Through a Story: A storybook can help with specific issues your child may face. This can be achieved if you read a book that deals with that particular problem- for example going to the dentist, or starting school. A book, which deals with this incident, is written to alleviate fears in the child’s mind and helps them to understand the complexity of the situation
- Better concentration levels: Reading to children or having them read by themselves helps in improving their concentration levels gradually. In the beginning, your child will be restless and might tire easily. But gradually as the love for hearing stories grows, he will learn to listen
How Do I Read to My Young Child?
If your child has not yet started reading, you can use three methods to make it interesting for him-
- The Auditory Method: A child is capable of listening to words even in-utero. It is an established fact that talking to a child helps them learn a language faster. The more you talk the faster this process is, even if your child does not understand the entire story
- The Phonetic Method: In this method, you can read words out by showing your child how they can be divided into sounds. This will set the foundation for correct pronunciation of words
- Fitting Words and Sentences: Once they understand words, they can then learn about the fitment of words into sentences, basic grammar rules and language skills
What Books Can I Read To My Child?
Here is an age-wise classification of some wonderful books for your child. Read here
For Children For 0-2 years
- Dr. Seuss: These books are enjoyable regardless of age, so you can start as early as you wish. Children love pictures and animals, and Dr. Seuss provides a lot of that
- Are You My Mother by P D Eastman: Coming from a Dr. Seuss collaborator, it tells the story of a little bird gets lost and goes in search for her mother and finally finds her
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a child’s joy with colorful pages and shows how a caterpillar grows into a butterfly. This gives the idea of growth, life and the dynamic form of nature to a child
For Children For 3-6 years
- Disney’s Wonderful World of Reading: has books on Disney stories and films which children enjoy, also because they may watch the movies afterward
- Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat Learning Library: provides books for this age up to the age of 8, such as “Oh the Places on Earth”, “Miles and Miles of Reptiles”, “The Eye book”, “Is the Camel a Mammal”, “Oh Say can you say Dinosaur”, “Inside you Outside.” These books have a fun way of introducing children to the basics of nature, geography, and science in Dr.Seuss’s signature colorful style. The book “Oh the Places You Will Go” is often used by parents to have it filled by the child’s teacher starting from kindergarten and then gift it to them as they graduate. It’s a lovely gift idea for your little one when they are not so little anymore. “The Lorax” gives them environment awareness
- What’s Up Duck, A Book of Opposites: THz is a board book for preschoolers to introduce them to the concept of opposites
- Duck Rabbit: Is it a Duck, Is it a Rabbit? Colorful illustrations and clever pictures keep the child guessing until she realizes that what can be seen as a duck can be seen as a rabbit with a change of perspective
- Horrid Henry series, Francesca Simon: Great fun to be read to children who have not started reading yet, and then can be given to older children to read by themselves. Horrid Henry is at constant war with his brother Perfect Peter. Horrid Henry and his friends do everything to escape school, and generally, create mayhem
- Noddy, Enid Blyton: An evergreen series that children can start reading by themselves at this age. The words are large in font and the interactions between the characters make this a childhood favorite, which even we have enjoyed as children
- Charlotte’s Web, E B White: The story of how the spider Charlotte saves the pig Wilbur from certain death is both awe-inspiring and gives children this age the concept of a larger novel written in simple language
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl: Dahl can be started at this age, and later, children read these books themselves. His wonderful imagination and quirky characterization gives free rein to imagination and creativity in children and the stories
- Ramona the Pest or The Ramona Series, Beverly Cleary: Similar to Horrid Henry, this series narrates the tales of Ramona, a kindergartner and her adventures of life at home and school
- The Little Prince, Antoine de St Expiry: The story of the Little Prince who comes from a world very unlike ours, which is so small that three trees overwhelm it. Gives children just being introduced to the concept of space and the universe, the imagination to think of planets which are far, far away
- Mary Poppins - P L Travers: The story of Jane and Michael whose lives are transformed when Mary Poppins comes flying and slides up to their banister. She takes them on a magical and exciting adventure and they grow to love her
From the age of 5, when children start writing in school, it is a good idea to ask your child to write about what he has heard or read. A short summary, one-word answers to questions you have created, writing about he thinks of the story and how it made him feel, can be attempted. Don’t push your child at this stage. It should be done purely out of interest to increase his comprehension skills, language skills, logical thinking, and creativity.
For Children For 7-10 years
I am not including Enid Blyton’s ever-popular Famous Five, Secret Seven, The Faraway Tree or other popular books like Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, which are invariably available in most libraries, and which we have read and enjoyed as children. I am listing 15 titles here, which you can include in your child’s reading list to improve their language skills. Many parents at this age look at creative writing classes for their children so that they can write better. But perhaps, the truth is that a child can write well if he or she reads extensively.
You can find plenty of books for this age group and it is quite difficult to choose just 15 among them, but this is a carefully made selection which will hold the attention of even a child who has not really gained an interest in reading.
- Harry Potter series - J K Rowling
- The 13 and Half-life of Captain Bluebear - Walter Moers
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid series - Jeff Kinney
- The Giving Tree- Shel Silverstein
- Stuart Little- E B White
- Where the Wild Things Are- Maurice Sendak
- Rikki Tiki Tavi- Rudyard Kipling
- Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling
- The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents- Terry Pratchet
- His Dark Materials- Philip Pullman
- Septimus Heap series- Angie Sage
- Curious George- H A Ray
- The Railway Children- Edith Nesbit
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing- Judy Bloom
- The Chronicles of Narnia- C S Lewis
Indian & Regional Books Which Child Can Read
There’s no way we would miss Indian mythology as well as regional literature for children. Why not start with the evergreen Amar Chitra Katha series, which gives children a picturesque view of folk tales, mythological tales, leaders and lives of kings and queens? Highly recommended are
- Tales of Gandhi,
- Rani Laxmi Bai,
- Mother Teresa and
- Regional favorites like Bhagat Singh and Vidyasagar
- Timeless classics like Panchtantra and Jataka tales,
- Ramayana & Mahabharata are relevant in today’s world too
There are many authors and graphic artists who have kept different age groups of children in mind. Here are some of the stalwarts in this genre -
Among other writers in English are Shashi Deshpande (The Narayanpur Incident), Lata Mani (The Tamarind Tree), Ranjit Lal (The Simians of South Block and the Yum Yum piglets), Suniti Namjoshi (Aditi series), Sandhya Rao (My Mother’s Sari, My Friend the Sea), Samhita Arni (The Mahabharata- A Child’s View) among others.
If you would like your child to learn your mother tongue, apart from speaking it, you can read from books in the language. There are several books for kids in different languages, which will take a whole separate blog post! As C S Lewis has said, “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” Therefore, read to your child, read for your child and read with your child. There can be very few things in the world more pleasurable than sharing a book with your little one.
- R K Narayan: Malgudi Days, Swami and Friend, Malgudi Schooldays (R K Narayan and Shashi Deshpande), Under the Banyan Tree are some books that are enjoyed by children and adults alike. It is a good read-aloud collection for small children as well
- Ruskin Bond: He has written extensively for children. Among the most enjoyable books are The Blue Umbrella, The Adventures of Toto, Tigers Forever, Crazy Times with Uncle Ken, The Panthers Moon, The Tiger in the Tunnel and Animal Stories
- Sudha Murty: How I taught my Grandmother to Read, The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk, Grandmothers Bag of Tales, The Bird with Golden Wings, The Magic Drum are her work for children
- Satyajit Ray: Mostly in Bengali, his works have now been extensively translated. His Felu-da series are a great hit among all age groups, and children love the teenage sidekick, Felu’s nephew. Professor Shonku is a scientist with amazing discoveries, most of which are relevant even in today’s iPad age
- Mahasweta Devi: Mahasweta Devi’s “The Why Why Girl” and “Choti Munda and his Arrow” are among the books which have been translated from Bengali, which is great because these stories are very beautiful and set in the heart of India, the villages that are far removed from urban lives
Do you read to your child? Tell us some of his favorites in the comments section!
| Nov 20, 2012
Reading to children for sure is integral to their formative years, having a place / corner for reading and developing a growing library for them is critical as well. As an Educational consultant I strongly recommend ETllearning for all those wid kids in the age group 0-8 yrs as they hav a very well researched total development program for kids
| Jul 21, 2013
Thanks for sharing this input, My 8 year old will start these books soon! Amazon has a bundle of free books for download on to kindle or kindle for ur device like anroud phone / tablet or kindle for iPad. I read most using this for my 2 year old, although she has her own stash of board book that she flips thru.
| Sep 15, 2017
Reading books is a great way for bonding and I can second that, when I see my elder one read out a story everyday to her lil sis in a very interesting manner with all special effects . thanks Payal for sharing this wonderful write up and a comprehensive list of books for all age groups.
| Sep 16, 2017
I love the blog, I would also add that we could make a group where in sharing the books could take place so that our kids could read many books in a low budget. I am from Bangalore (South) if we can build a group amongst us moms, exchange books regularly.... I don't mind making the group, so moms from Bangalore can msg me to add themselves up in the group. 9916649452 It's just a suggestion, if it works, we would have taken a positive step after reading a beautiful blog like this.