When you think of reading to your kids, you think of sitting down and reading them something like The Cat in the Hat or a Pete the Cat book. We don’t think about continuing to read to our kids past the age when they can read to themselves. Instead, we encourage them to read books on their own but don’t take the time to help them with that reading. Chapter books are going to be filled with words your child has never seen and won’t know how to pronounce them or know their meanings. We as parents need to slow down and help our kids read, and here are six fun books that you both can read.
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven books taking place in the fantastical land of Narnia. The first book published (though not the first in the chronology of the series) was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The Pevensie children are transported to a land covered over in winter. Talking animals and mythical creatures inhabit Narnia, some of which help the children in their adventures, some of them serving the White Witch who rules over the land. The book explores real life during World War II as the children come from England during this terrible time period. If you and your children enjoy fantasy and magic, then this is a must-read for the two of you. You will also like the next selection…
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Everyone knows Harry, and he has no idea why. Raised by his uncle and aunt (as most heroes tend to be it seems), Harry is invited to attend a school for witches and wizards. While his guardians refuse, a little persuasion from a wizard sent to transport Harry to school convinces them otherwise. There, he meets a band of friends, a bully who plagues him for the entirety of the series, and an enemy only he can defeat. This book is the first of Harry’s adventures and centres on finding a magical stone that could give the dark lord (he shall not be named here) eternal life. Harry and his friends must survive trolls and Fluffy, and play the best game of Wizard’s Chess in the history of the game if they are to stop He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. So sit down on the couch or lay next to each other on the rug and read Harry’s exploits together.
Not a book often thought of when looking for books to read with your children, but a great one nonetheless. Written by a master, Neil Gaiman, the story follows Coraline Jones entering another world she discovers in the house she and her family just moved into. In this darker tale reminiscent of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Coraline finds that she has an “Other” family on the other side; versions of her parents with button eyes and personalities she wished her real parents had. Soon Coraline discovers that this other world is not what she thought it to be and (spoilers…). Have a wonderful time helping your kids read this one and you will discover the darker side of the Other World.
Pirates of the Caribbean brought back, albeit briefly, the days of sailing the high seas and swashbuckling sword fights. The journey to Treasure Island does not involve Jack Sparrow bumbling around and somehow coming out unscathed. Instead, the main character is a boy named Jim Hawkins who inadvertently gets drawn into adventure (as heroes often do). On a voyage to find buried treasure, Jim is caught up in a mutiny orchestrated by one of the crew. The young boy must survive an island full of uncertainty and pirates if he is to get home alive. And you will not be able to wait to read the adventure with your own young ones once you start this book.
The Wizard of Oz
“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” But you will be (at least for a short time) once you sit down and start reading this American classic (that line actually reads differently in the book). Like so many other great books, Dorothy Gale is taken to another land when a tornado rips her house off the ground and sucks it into the air with her and her dog in it. She crashes down in the mysterious Land of Oz, and on one of the Wicked Witches as well. This draws the attention of the Wicked Witch of the West, sister to the deceased hag under Dorothy’s house. To escape the witch’s wrath, Dorothy and Toto (the dog) must get to the Emerald City and ask the Wizard for help. She collects a group of friends along the way that help her reach the city, in turn, she helps them through their own trials and tribulations. This is a marvellous read from the turn of the century; a classic to share with each generation. Take some time to share it with your next generation.
Yes, you can watch the movies for all of these books, and they are all wonderful cinematic iterations of the stories, but nothing is as good as holding the pages between your hands and discovering the worlds above in their original written forms. Words can create more than just tales. They can take us to faraway lands, put us on the deck with pirates, take us back in time or into the future. Share those places with your kids, starting with the ones discussed above.
*This is a collaborative post*