Kid Lit: A Real Page Turner – What’s On Our Reading List This Month

Yesterday I got an email about the results of a new study, compiled by PBS Kids and youth and family research firm Smarty Pants, on parents with young children aged 2-6 which found that American families are struggling to prepare their children for kindergarten with five out of 10 parents worrying that their child won’t have the basic skills they need when they start elementary school.

I shared this info on The Harried Mom’s Facebook page and asked readers along with some of my IRL (“In Real Life”) mommy friends to share with me their top tip to get kids onto the path to school readiness.  The most common response I got was reading to/with children on a daily basis and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree! 3D Render of Kids Surrounded by Books

Reading isn’t just fundamental to a child’s education and learning foundation, it’s essential.  Children will be reading in one way or another – from books/magazines/social media to the ingredients in a recipe, from the directions of dosage on a medicine bottle to filling out job applications – their entire life.  Reading helps to develop children’s minds and inspire their imaginations.

We try to read daily to our kidlets who are six (1st grade) and four (pre-school) and we make weekly trips to our local library.  In addition to books that The Hubs, I or the kidlet’s sitter select for them, we always let them pick out a few books of their own choice to read for the week.

My son’s go-to reading book these days is any one from the “Elephant and Piggie” series by Mo Willems. This series feature two friends, an elephant named Gerald and a pig named, well, Piggie, who learn useful lessons about friendship, sharing, kindness and problem solving  What I like about this series is that you do not have to read these books in any particular order.  You can pick up any book in the series and start the reading fun from there.

$_35Just some of the titles in the “Elephant and Piggie” book series

“Elephant and Piggie” books are written in a conversational style – sort of like comic books where the words appear in bubbles above the character’s head which makes it not only easy for children to read, but also easy for them to understand who is saying what.   Gerald and Piggie are drawn against a white background which keeps things uncluttered (and kids focused on the characters) but are able to convey the story and their feelings through super expressive faces and crazy body language.

THM_ABigGuyTookMyBallMoWillems_BookFloatMy son’s book float on Mo Willem’s “A Big Guy Took My Ball”

My son loves these books so much that he did his first ever-book report – or should I say book float (which the entire 1st grade had to complete and then they took all the floats on  book parade around the school – so fun!) on “A Big Guy Took My Ball.” The basic gist of the story is that Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! She runs to her best pal Gerald for help since he’s big, too…but is he big enough to help out his best friend vs a big blue whale?

My four-year old daughter is into more abstract books.  She’s not yet reading independently so she loves to sit down and look at books that feature whimsical illustrations and visual humor.

THM_IWantMyHatBackJonKlassen2Bear meets (and helps out!) a turtle on his search thru the forest for his beloved red hat in “I Want My Hat Back”  by Jon Klassen

Her favs these days are “I Want My Hat Back” by Jon Klassen which tells the story of a bear who almost gives up his search for his beloved missing hat until he remembers something important.  The story is a little dark – all I’ll say is that does not end well for the rabbit, but its a fun read for both kids and adults.

THM_IsThatMyCatNow it takes two hands to pick her up, and now this fussy eater finishes all her food in “Is That My Cat?” by Jonathan Allen from Sterling Children’s Books

She also just got a new book, “Is That My Cat” by Jonathan Allen that she seems to like. This is a silly story about a boy as he tries to figure out why his cat, normally playful, agile and lithe, has morphed into a plump feline who now struggles to get through the cat door, scarfs down her food and gets herself stuck up a tree.  The boy eventually discovers his cat hiding in the closet and gets a big, happy surprise (let’s just say she’s not alone in there, she’s got a “fan club” and leave it at that).

So now it’s your turn to share.  What is your top tip to get your kids on the path to school readiness?  What’s on your kid’s reading list these days?




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  1. Autumn says

    My daughter is really into ballet books right now. I like your suggestions, and will check them out! The Mo Willems books are adorable.

  2. says

    I opted not to put my children in Pre K, but instead took on the challenge of homeschooling them. While we have recently decided to allow our oldest to attend Kindergarten I know he will be more than prepared and just hope he isnt too advanced and become bored. The BOB reading books have been instrumental in helping my four year old and now three year old read.
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  3. says

    That book float is adorable! WOW that brings back so many memories. I had to make one of those in Elementary school myself. Being a kid is so much fun! My daughter would probably love to make on of those.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      My son is also into the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series – but The Hubs and I read that to him before he goes to bed each night. I can’t wait to read the Fancy Nancy series to my daughter!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      That’s great, I’m with you about reading daily making a difference. I also like that it’s quality time spent together reading and sharing.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      My son also likes “Captain Underpants” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” – they are chapter books and The Hubs and I read him a few each night!

  4. says

    I love some of the books you have mentioned. We just read whatever we have on the book shelf. I try to buy from Scholastic Book Clubs at school for my oldest because she reads through chapter novels faster than I can keep up. With my younger two, we just read whatever they choose off their very full book case in their room.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      We LOVE Scholastic Book Club – there are so many great books – and affordable. At my son’s school they buy from the $1 books and give them out to every 1st grader for the holiday – so Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. It’s so much better than getting a bag of candy!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      We just started with “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” – The Hubs and I read a few chapters – or diary entries – to my son at bedtime each night.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      We do it from using our smartphones to street signs and items on a grocery list. Why not start them as early as possible!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      My daughter tried out ABC Mouse, but she much rather prefers that we read with her – and so do I quite frankly!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      We love Dr. Seuss, Curious George and now Elephant and Piggie (and don’t forget The Pigeon also by Mo Willems!).

    • TheHarriedMom says

      Sometimes we go twice a week because we’ve cycled thru the books so quickly and often! That’s not a bad problem to have!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      My daughter won’t be going to Kindergarten next fall – because of how her birthday falls – just past the cutoff date – so I’m hoping by the time she starts she’ll be a stellar reader. My son could only read a little and he struggled all last year – but with extra help and reading, he’s doing great now.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      Thanks, he did a great job with the modeling clay – I just hot glued them together to make sure they didn’t fall apart!

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