We all know why it is good to read to children under 5 - it helps lay the groundwork for a successful experience in school (and life!). In order for young children to be strong readers, they need to be read to. As kids get older (and busier) it is harder and harder to find time to read those looooooong chapter books. There are a great many benefits to continuing to read to your older children! It contiunes to build their vocubalary, it strengthens their listening skills and most importantly, it provides time for you to bond with your children.
Here are some titles from our collection to help you get started. Remember, everyone has different personal values and your children's maturity levels vary, so we recommend that you read the books yourself before sharing them with your children.
For recommendations of books to read to your baby, toddler or preschooler please go to our First Five Years section for book lists.
Books for School-Age Listeners:
Harold the dog shares a true story of the mysterious happenings in the Monroe household since the arrival of an unusual rabbit named Bunnicula. The Monroes' cat, Chester, who has quite an active imagination, is convinced that the harmless looking bunny is a vampire. Chester observes Bunnicula rousing only at night to get sustenance from vegetables by draining their juices with his tiny fangs! Initially, Harold helps Chester warn the family that the strange white vegetables in their refrigerator are caused by a vampire bunny. Later though, Harold comes to Bunnicula's aid when he discovers that Chester is using garlic to starve his new fluffy friend. The story ends happily when Bunnicula goes on a liquid diet and the Monroes' vegetables are safe.
While sorting through difficulties in her friendship with her neighbor Margaret, eight-year-old Clementine gains several unique hairstyles while also helping her father in his efforts to banish pigeons from the front of their apartment building. This is a funny story of a girl who can't seem to avoid trouble and both bpys and girls will apprecitae the humor. An added bonus - the grownups in this book are actually cool! Follow this up with The Talented Clementine and Clementine's Letter.
After Chester, a cricket, arrives in the Times Square subway station from his native Connecticut via a picnic basket, he takes up residence in the Bellinis' newsstand. There tiny Chester is lucky enough to find three good friends; a little boy named Mario whose parents run the unsuccessful newsstand; a fast-talking Broadway mouse called Tucker; and Tucker's pal, Harry Cat. Between escapades in New York City, the four somehow manage tobring success to the almost bankrupt newsstand.
When he decides to turn his fifth-grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control. Always a hit with elementary school kids, this book also has some good talking points! Check out the discussion guide on Simon & Shuster's website for some questions and activities to do with your kids.
Mr. Popper, a house painter who dreams of the Polar region, receives a large crate containing a penguin. This is a silly book written in 1938, but a classic and an award winner. Even your younger listeners in Preschool would like this book! Follow it up with an exploration about penguins and their habitats. We've got 63 other books about penguins in our Children's Room! You can also find out more about penguins on Zoobooks - a online animal encyclopedia for kids.
"Boy!" said Ralph to himself, his whiskers quivering with excitement. "Boy, oh boy!" Feeling that this was an important moment in his life, he took hold of the handgrips. They felt good and solid beneath his paws. Yes, this motorcycle was a good machine all right.
A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling. Follow this up with the Cleary's book Ralph S. Mouse.
Sarah, Plain and Tall is an award winning tale set in the late 19th century. It is about Jacob, a widowed midwestern farmer, and his two children, Anna and Caleb. Jacob has advertised for a wife, but when Sarah arrives, she is homesick for Maine, especially for the ocean which she misses greatly. The children fear that she will not stay, and when she goes off to town alone, young Caleb, whose mother died during childbirth, is stricken with the fear that she has gone for good. But she returns with colored pencils to illustrate for them the beauty of Maine, and to explain that, though she misses her home, "the truth of it is I would miss you more." The tale gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.
The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin. A modern fairy tale that is sure to delight listeners of all ages. Already read this one? Try another book by this author. Kate DiCamillo is a favorite author of kids and children's librarians alike!
The Tuck family is confronted with an agonizing situation when they discover that a ten-year-old girl and a malicious stranger now share their secret about a spring whose water prevents one from ever growing any older. The story is historical fiction taking place in the 1880s blended with fantasy. Check out the Reading Guide on Scholastic's website for some good questions to ask your kids after you've finished.