*SQUEEEEEE DID SOMEONE ASK ABOUT READING?!?!*
Okay stand back lol...
“You may have tangible wealth untold
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,
Richer than I you can never be,
For I had parents who read to me.” - S. Gililand
Childless one chiming in with her own childhood experience FWIW: When I was a baby, my parents propped me on their lap in the rocking chair and read to me. Apparently my first words were "Read book."
I have a cassette tape recording (remember those lol) of me reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas." It is hilarious because a) I think I had it memorized and was not actually reading it (my pronunciation is evidence that talking was a relatively new thing for me) - my mom was prompting me with the opening line on each page and b) I also injected commentary about the funny pictures that were included in the book.
I thought stories were wonderful and couldn't wait to figure them out on my own. I can't remember how I transitioned from the being read to, to reading to myself and being able to recognize new words, but it happened very quickly. Hearing the words first and then seeing them apparently helped me make the connection faster. YEMV of course. I LOVE reading and I LOVE writing - because my parents took the time to introduce me to the magic of storytelling. They didn't drill me on flashcards. They didn't sit me in front of some educational video. Not that I'm bashing those methods
, but I am glad they weren't used on me because they wouldn't have been my thing. In reading fun and funny stories to me, they basically said "Here is this wondrous thing we (grown-ups) do (reading and writing entertaining stories)...if you want we can show you how to do it." Young children are very much in "monkey see, monkey do" mode - I enjoyed being read to and then I wanted to read, a natural side effect of the "I do it myself!" phase. Never underestimate the power of a good book.
I will add Steven Kellogg
to the suggestion list next to Dr. Seuss. His tall tales and great illustrations have stayed with me all these years. I still think about Pinkerton
the great dane.
I grew up on the Berenstain Bears, Wee Wisdom, Highlights and...well just about whatever caught my eye in my regular trips to the library.
The Little Critter books are awesome
. Actually Mercer Mayer is just awesome period. Before Monsters, Inc. there was "There's A Nightmare In My Closet
He has Phonics and "I Can Read" books. He has amazing insight into what it is like to be a kid, so his LC books are funny and entertaining but also address every possible life experience you can think of in a great educational way! The only thing I loved more than his Little Critter were his monsters - after all these years I still remember the amazing adventure portrayed in "One Monster After Another
."Richard Scarry's books
were great for me when I was about pre school age - I loved Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm.
Lots of cute books that taught you the basics.Tomie dePaola'
s books about Strega Nona and her bumbling sidekick Big Anthony were wonderful, as are his books about Bill and Pete (a crocodile and the bird who rides him). He loves to tell fables and old cultural tales. He has some good books with Christian themes, the most beautiful and touching one (IMHO) being "The Clown of God
." Even as a little child I was moved by the magic and spirit of that story.Maurice Sendak
has written many other good books besides "Where The Wild Things Are."
The one other author I will single out is Bill Peet
- he was an illustrator for Disney who helped create many of their classic movies. He also helped bring inanimate objects to life in many memorable short cartoons. He wrote many wonderful stories about animals who had amazing adventures. My favs are "Ella," "Cowardly Clyde," and "Big Bad Bruce." I have a autographed copy of "The Ant and the Elephant."
Other random suggestions of books that fired my imagination and thirst for reading as a child (funny, silly, exotic, realistic, etc.):Animalia
by Graeme Base - I haven't read any of this author's other books but I really should - his illustrations are UNBELIEVABLE and the amount of detail to get lost in is simply indescribable. Just look at this book once in your life, you owe it to yourself and your children - if you have none look at it anyway!Groundsel
by Fergus Hall - Very very strange-but-fascinating fable about the need for time and seasons, with really interesting illustrations. Mr. Monkey and the Gotcha Bird
- This is just a funny jungle adventure book - I remember my dad doing the voices of the animals.Runaway Marie Louise
- A little mongoose on an adventure.Monkey and the White Bone Demon
- asian-inspired illustrations and an animal action-hero left quite an impression on me if I can still bring this to mind randomly after over 20 years.
Of the 5 I just listed, I only own the first two; I took the other 3 straight from memory. I don't know if that says something about me, or something about the books.
I could list my entire library but I'll leave you with what I've already put here, before I get lost forever in the Amazonian Labyrinth.
TLDR; Try and encourage and foster your child's enthusiasm for reading, but (as a PP said) don't worry if they don't "take" to it.