"Reading is fundamental."

R and G hard at work
We’re raising readers in our house. I wish I could say instilling in our children a love of reading was part of a very strategic parenting plan. It’s really more selfish that than: I love to read and I wanted my children to love to read, too.

One of my strongest childhood memories is of the library in Succasunna, New Jersey, where we lived until I was 13. I haven’t been there in 25 years but its layout is imprinted on my subconscious. I remember sitting on the floor in the aisles, looking at books with the sunlight streaming through the windows. We spent so many hours there, participating in story hours and searching for our next adventure in the stacks. I read through the children’s section by age 10 and made a significant dent in the adult section before we moved away. I wanted my kids to have that same experience because I know, for me, a love of reading has made an important, and positive, impact on my life.

Reading, according to the Family Resource Center, has many advantages for young children. It’s a great habit to read to your children from the beginning, as it will help build their language skills, expose them to new cultures thereby making them better global citizen, enhance their social skills, and inspire their young imaginations. 
Since he was quite small, R has had an insatiable appetite for books. He has memorized so many of our favorites that, if you inadvertently skip a word, he corrects you, and demands you re-read the relevant passage!
Sometimes, when I read to him, especially when I read “The Giant Jam Sandwich,” I stop before the end of the sentence, and he finishes it for me. “One hot summer day in Itching Down/Four million wasps came into town.” I really love that book. It never ceases to make me smile.  His new favorite book? Anything about dinosaurs. G is also developing into quite a reader. She loves books about Elmo and books by Karen Katz where she can lift the flaps to find baby’s Mommy, belly button, or ball. 
We have a long list of must read books in our house. Books that make us laugh, that bring back my husband and me back to our childhoods. We have books that I hope inspire R and G, and books I hope they’ll want to read together–even when they’re older. Some of our top picks include: 
The first book I read to R.
The first book I read to G.
The sweet story of a little duck who lives on 
the Yangtze River in China. 
These are two of my husband’s favorites from his childhood.
“He always said that she could dig as much in a day 
as a hundred men could dig in a week.”
Bill Peet’s books are terrific.  

We got this one for the kids at the Louvre
It’s a great way to teach why people love art and
why stealing is wrong. 

For Easter, the kids received several new books, including a collection of Cornelia Funke stories, featuring “Pirate Girl,” a tale of a clever girl named Molly and how she outwits a boat of pirates, and “The Man Who Walked Between The Towers,” the account of Philippe Petit’s tight rope walk between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974.
And, I can’t wait for what’s to come! The Laura Ingalls books, the Shoes series by Noel Streatfeild (“Ballet Shoes” is my favorite!), “The Adventures of Holly Hobbie” (my all-time favorite book in fourth grade), and so many more…..
What’s your favorite book? Do tell, so I can add it to our “to read” list!
Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.
–Margaret Fuller

*Do you know about Reading Is Fundamental? They are America’s largest literacy nonprofit and work to build a love of reading in all children.