We expect schools to teach children to read; however, it has been repeatedly shown by numerous studies that the home is extremely important to developing proficient readers. All parents should want their child to be a good reader because reading level generally correlates to level of success in life.
Here are the reading strategies that relate to the home playing a role in developing avid readers:
- Have the Right Stuff—Choose books and other reading materials for children to read at home.
- Help Make it a Habit—Encourage children to read by providing regular time to read while at home; create an environment conducive to reading.
- Find Positive Role Models—Be a reading role model to your children as mothers and fathers who read say, through their actions, that “reading is a valuable pastime.” It’s important for children to see that their parents enjoy reading.
- Let Them Talk—Talk to your children about what YOU are reading. Yes, parents should talk to their children about what their children are reading, but parents should also talk about what THEY are reading in front of their children or with their children. Talking about various reading materials encourages critical thinking. It’s good for their brain development! You can actually play a role in making them smarter.
- Drive the Point Home—Be involved in their child’s education as it results in improved student achievement, reduced absenteeism, better behaviour, and increased confidence for parents regarding their children’s schooling (Me Read? And How! 72).
Source: Ontario Provincial Parliament. Me Read? And How!. Toronto: Queen’s Printers, 2009. Print.
Give the Gift of Reading This Christmas!
Because of the great importance of the home to developing proficient, avid . . . life-long readers, I have decided to create a list of high-interest book topics, reading sources, and book recommendations for young adults. The specific titles suggested will be sources of reading materials that would make excellent Christmas gifts. You can also brainstorm your child’s interests and look for books that fall into that subject area. Ask your child, what s/he likes to read if you are unsure. Finally, it’s also okay to take a leap and get a book that s/he may not have chosen for him/herself because their interests will always be developing and changing.
High Interest Topics for Boys:
- action, adventure
- ancient civilizations, mythology (anything related to dragons)
- how things are made
- gaming (i.e. manuals, tips)
- graphic novels or comic books, i.e. Shonen Jump manga
- joke books
- magazine subscription (on any topic of interest)
- Medieval times
- military, war & weapons
- mystery, spy novels
- non-fiction stories/novels
- horror, scary
- science fiction (& with characters using high-tech gadgets, i.e. light sabers)
- sports (hockey, basketball, soccer, baseball, football, etc.)
- survival stories or manuals
- wildlife, identification, hunting, exotic places
High Interest Topics for Girls:
- classic literature
- graphic novels, i.e. Shojo manga
- magazine subscriptions (on any topic if interest)
- modern generation
- non-fiction instructional, i.e. how to knit
- realistic fiction, real-life drama
- relationships, romance, love (forbidden)
- science fiction
- social issues (i.e. child abuse, abduction)
- teen angst
Book Recommendation Web sites:
- Good Reads (Best Girls’ Books, Best Books for Older Teen Boys, etc.)
- Teen Reads contains book recommendations but is also a site designed for teens
- Flashlight Worthy Books has handpicked book recommendations
- Best Books 4 Teens has reviews of numerous teen books
- Education Oasis (Great Books for Girls divided into three age groupings)
- The Children’s Literature Web Guide (Lists of Lists concerning what kids should or shouldn’t read)
Sources of EXCELLENT books:
- Scholastic Books—My children have been bringing these forms home from school and daycare since they were as young as one! There are several different book order forms that are released periodically over the school year; the forms are organized for different age groups, but they also have a technology focused flyer and a Christmas flyer that is multi-aged. Schools also have the option of hosting a live sale. I cannot emphasize enough the economical nature of these book sales. It’s like ALL the books are on sale! They also feature a few books at rock bottom prices and they are generally really good titles. We once bought a class set of a novel from Scholastic for $1.99 each. (If you are a teacher, you can use this in your classroom! Get started here.)
- Amazon or Chapters Indigo—I personally love for the books to come to me! Perusing an online book store at my own leisure, saving items for later, watching for a sale (or change in price), and making an order once I get to the free shipping level. I have also found that using Amazon to send a gift to someone in another city is excellent. It’s sent in ‘gift’ packaging without the price on the item with a personal message from me. If the item is over $30, I’ve just saved the shipping as well! Check out the books that I selected for my Amazon Store.
- Yard Sales, Value Village & Book Sales—During the yard sale season, there are numerous books for the taking. Yes, you must first weed through the old castaways that aren’t of interest anymore, but there will be treasures. The highest price for a book at a yard sale will be less than any of the above options! Value Village is an excellent source for used books; the prices are a little higher than yard sales and there are treasures there as well. Book sales are great too! Our local museum has one each year that is a well-known and frequented event every spring. They sell the books by the bag, so you can bring your kids and let them get whatever they want. My kids always loved it!
- Public/School Library—Although I believe that everyone should own and care about owning at least a few books, there are situations where buying books is not feasible for your budget. Your school or public library are there for everyone in your community to have access to books. Why does every major (and some quite small communities) have a public library where everyone can have access to books? Because everyone is entitled to freely access information. Access to books is an equalizer in society since the opportunity to learn and potentially use that learning to improve your circumstances is available to all. Use your public library! Did you know that you can even request the library to purchase a book they don’t have in their collection? When someone actually requests a particular book, they believe it will be wanted by others as well.
- Borrow from Friends or Family—Encourage a culture of reading by talking about what you are reading with your friends and family. My ski group is constantly sharing their latest books. There’s a lot of, “Have you read…? Do you want to borrow…? Do you have…?” conversations going on within the group. If one person has read a great book, it is shared with another. Need I point out that you share the cost of the books? If five people each buy a $10 book and then share them all, each has saved $40 (for a total savings of $200). It’s a great system!
1. Amazing series, i.e. Human Body
2. Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events series, Lemony Snickett
4. Bleach manga, Tite Kubo
5. Bone Graphic Novel series, Jeff Smith
6. Calvin and Hobbes compilations, Bill Watterson
7. Captain Underpants series, Dav Pilkey
8. Cirque Du Freak series, Darren Shan Holes
9. Dear Dumb Diary, by Jim Benton
10. Deltora Quest series, Emily Rodda
11. Encyclopedia Horrifica: The Terrifying TRUTH! About Vampires, Ghosts, and Monsters, Joshua Gee
12. Ender’s Game Series, Orson Scott Card
13. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Jeff Kinney
14. Gary Paulsen’s Survival novels (i.e. Hatchet)
15. Guinness Book of World Record books
16. Heat, Mike Lupica
17. Horrible Histories series, Terry Deary
18. James and the Giant Peach & Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
19. Jerry Spinelli novels
20. Monster, Walter Dean Myers
21. Pendragon series, D.J. MacHale
22. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Rick Riordan
23. Rangers Apprentice series, John Flanagan
24. R.A. Salvatore Wizard Fantasy Series’
25. Scary Stories series, Alvin Schwartz
26. Skeleton Creek series, Patrick Carman
27. Star Wars series (several different one…choose whichever is age appropriate)
28. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie (and other books)
29. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
30. Chocolate Touch, Patrick Catling
31. Last Dragon Chronicles series, Chris D’Lacey
32. The Stinky Cheese man & Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Jon Scieszka (and other books)
33. The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Christopher Paul Curtis
34. Trapped between Lash and Gun, Arvella Whitmore
35. Warriors series, Erin Hunter
36. Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
1. All-American Girl Series, Meg Cabot (and other individual novels)
2. Amelia Peabody series, Elizabeth Peters
3. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume (and other individual novels)
4. Blue Bloods Series, Libba Bray
5. Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine
6. Gabrielle Zevin’s Novels (i.e. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, Elsewhere)
7. Gallagher Girls Series, Ally Carter
8. Gossip Girl Series, Cecily von Ziegesar
9. Hush, Hush Series, Becca Fitzpatrick
10. Laurie Halse Anderson’s Novels (i.e. Speak, Winter Girls)
11. Little Blue Envelop Series, Maureen Johnson
12. Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepards
13. Sarah Dessen’s Novel (i.e. Just Listen, The Truth about Forever)
14. Stargirl & Love, Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli (also has numerous other unisex books)
15. The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson
16. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
17. The Princess Diaries Series, Meg Cabot
18. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series, Ann Brashares
19. ttyl, ttfn, l8r and g8r series’, Lauren Myracle
20. Twilight Series, Stephanie Meyer
21. Uglies Series, Scott Westerfield
22. Vampire Academy Series, Richelle Mead
1. Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (mature), John Boyne
2. Chronicles of Narnia Series, C.S. Lewis
3. Feed, M.T. Anderson
4. Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
5. Hunger Games Series, Suzanne Collins
6. Mary Downing Hahn Horror Novels (i.e. The Old Willis Place, Deep and Dark and Dangerous)
7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mark Haddon
8. The Giver Series, Lois Lowry (and other individual novels)
9. The Host Series, Stephanie Meyer
Thanks to those who collaborated on the list of high-interest topics for boys and girls, and specific titles and authors:
@cmcgee200’s students 😀
Thanks to Wordle for the tool to create the word collage images.
Thanks to Regalo Con Scintille for the flashy present image above that is free for use on Free Digital Photos.