March is a wonderful month for literacy. Everyone spent the day reading to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2 and this week we have the Share A Story-Shape a Future blogging event. Spring is bursting with exciting ideas for getting children interested in books and reading.
I chose the writing prompt: If you were asked to create a package of 5 books to gift to a child what books would you include in your gift? Include one book for each year (infant to 5).
What a coincidence! Just today, Zoe at Playing By The Book announced a book drive for families who were victims of the recent earthquake in New Zealand. I am hoping to be able to send a gift of books to a family in need. I don’t know the ages of the children yet, but here is a wonderful opportunity to plan ahead.
As you will see, my list contains read-aloud classics. I tried to choose books that work for multiple ages, although in different ways. Hopefully the books will also appeal to younger or older siblings who might gather to hear the story. Books that have layers of complexity are sure to stay favorites as they grow with the child as he or she ages. Finally, being classics, many people have read them and children will thus have enjoyable experiences that others relate to or share.
The gift books:
1). Infants do best with board books that survive being put in the mouth (how a baby processes the world, after all). Bold primary colors entice young eyes. The classic Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is an early favorite, available as a board book. Older children can search the illustrations for funny items. The text makes it a soothing bedtime book.
2). One-year-old child is not too young for The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The shapes and holes in the pages attract attention. Older children can practice counting and enjoy the silliness. You can also make puppets and act out the story. Still older children will enjoy Eric Carle-themed art projects.
3). Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. will help a two-year-old learn his or her colors and at the same time hear wonderful rhythmic language. This book is absolutely wonderful because older children can memorize this book and then “read” it to others. (See Bill Martin reading the story at my recent post about him).
4). A three-year-old is ready for many different picture books, but in sticking with the educational growth scheme, I would pick Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, once again by Bill Martin Jr. What better way to learn the alphabet? Send a long a set of magnetic letters to hang on the fridge while reading the book. The letters can go “Boom,” too.
5). By four, the whole wide world of picture books are starting to open up. For something a bit more modern, I’d pick If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. When children are old enough to understand, the book has useful messages about social interactions, as well as being a lot of fun to read.
Did you read any of these books when you were young?
What books would you send to a child if you were giving the gift of literacy?