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The Best Books (for All Ages) from 2016

In 1998, the National Education Association started a nationwide celebration of reading: Read Across America. Traditionally held on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Read Across America is coming up on March 2. Schools and local libraries host events and find new and creative ways to encourage kids of all ages to find the fun in reading. 

You don’t have to be a teacher or librarian to join in the fun! Teaching kids to enjoy reading starts early and starts at home. So whether your child is still in the womb or studying for his driver’s test, we have a few suggestions to encourage even the most reluctant reader in your home. 

Disconnect to Reconnect

If you’re like any other family in the 21st century, you battle the screen daily. Here are a few creative ways you can trade out some screen time for book time:

Find an age-appropriate book to read aloud during mealtime. Depending on the ages present, you could even take turns reading aloud! 

Choose books that connect with your child’s current interests. Graphic novels, character or movie based books, comics . . . the choices are endless. Ask a local librarian for suggestions. The key is to find ones that click and then read them together.

Go digital! Audio books and Kindles or tablets can create a love for reading by meeting reluctant readers where they are.

Create incentives. Work together to reach reading goals and celebrate as a family. Here we have done family date nights or small prizes as a way to motivate our early reader.

Read aloud some of your childhood favorites or discover new ones together. Whip out those old Golden Books, Baby-Sitter’s Club, or Harry Potter sets and invite your kids to join in on the nostalgia and adventure. Or, if you’re feeling brave, grab your teen and some newer YA novels and make some new favorites (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a personal favorite for some parent/teen reading. Then you can reward yourselves by seeing the film coming out in 2018!)books2

Find Some New Local Favorites

2016 brought with it several great new publications for all ages. Here are some read-aloud titles you can pick up at one of the many Fort Worth Public Library locations:

  • We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen: A great, short read on learning to be thoughtful. 
  • Cat’s Colors by Airlie Anderson: A new favorite in our home with a sweet and colorful surprise ending! Great for teaching young children colors.
  • The Barefoot Book of Children by Tessa Strickland, Kate Depalma, and David Dean: This beautifully illustrated book may look like a long read, but the bright colors and discussion questions keep even the youngest readers engaged as you learn about and celebrate our world’s diversity.
  • School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex: This fun first day book allows school anxious children to value empathy and see school as a little less intimidating. 
  • Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis: This silly book on friendship and kindness takes readers to anotherbooksworld where even the words are just a little unconventional (or are they?).
  • Return by Aaron Becker: This final installment in the Journey Series creates an avenue to draw in reluctant readers. These wordless books take their audience on heart-pounding adventures while stirring a love for books and teaching kids to use visual cues and context to follow a story.
  • Pax by Sara Pennypacker: Recommended for ages 8-12, this book would be good for some bonding time with your older readers. An emotional look at friendship and finding your place.
  • Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager: Another chapter book geared toward middle to high school readers. This coming of age novel takes you on a journey through the magic of family and the importance of knowing where you come from.  

We also found some great resources in the Fort Worth Mom’s Blog archives.

What are some ways you are teaching your kids to love reading? We would love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments!

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