Attention, Patch families.
As a bestselling author, but most importantly, as a dad, I’ve found this to be my absolute go-to golden rule for parenting: the best way to open doors for your children is to get them to absolutely love to read books. And this won’t happen unless you, the parent, take the job into your own hands.
Reading—no matter what kinds of books they prefer—is the best and only way our kids will be able to grasp a firm footing in this life. Never deny them a book at the store or the library. Make time for reading 20 minutes a day in your house. Read books alongside them. Make the act of reading cool.
There’s a simple, easy way to get started: pick the books your kid will love. You can even use my ReadKiddoRead.com for a list of the best ones out there. Give them books they’ll enjoy, and they’ll pick up the next one on their own. Then another, and another… until you have a full-fledged reader on your hands, destined for great things ahead.
Ways to Celebrate National Reading Month
From storytime to read aloud programs, there are plenty of ways to make your children full-fledged readers—and National Reading Month is the perfect time to start. From showing your child your own children's books from years ago to going to a bookstore and seeing punchy, colorful new covers, either can ignite a love of reading into your child.
The National Education Association, which launched a Read Across America program to motivate kids to read, has plenty of resources on its site. Looking for the best books your family can read together? Then check out this list, the Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children. Get ready to grab "Cat in the Hat" and "Charlotte's Web" from the Charlestown Branch of the Boston Public Library.
NEA also has booklists for every state. For Massachusetts, that includes "Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McClosky, "Johnny Appleseed" by Steven Kellog and the Anastasia Krupnik series by Lowis Lowry.
And if you're looking for more great books to read to your kids, check out the ReadKiddoRead Foundation's website for reading lists by age group and category.
The Charlestown Branch also offers plenty of resources. Here's a list of some local reading-related events and programs in town this month:
- Homework help: The Charlestown Branch offers a free drop-in homework help program for students in grades K-8. High school-age mentors from Boston's public and private schools provide the academic support. The program runs daily most weeks, Monday through Thursday, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Visit the library website for more information.
- Toddler Time: Bring your toddler by the Charlestown Branch on Wednesdays in March from 10:30-11 a.m. for stories, puppets, rhymes and more. This program is free and geared toward children under 3.
- Fun Friday: Wind down for the weekend with activities at the library on Friday, March 29 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. There may be a craft, a short movie, a story time or games. For ages 3 and up.
- Book discussion: On Monday, April 1, join a discussion of "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan. Come by the branch in advance to pick up a copy of the book.