When the local television news confirmed, it was officially a “snow day” and school was canceled! Yippee! After everyone slept in and lounged around in pajamas for a good chunk of time, I was ready for a change.

Yes, my kids would love to spend all day playing video games or looking at social media to keep in touch with everyone they do and don’t know, but this mom decided to institute some designated reading time.

My children all looked at me and said, “Oh mother, what a lovely idea.” Not! Instead, I got a few groans and eye rolls.

It may sound ridiculous to tell someone, “You’re going to read and you’re going to like it!” But seasoned moms know that is simply what you do.

Books for the Brain

My husband and I read to our kids starting at an early age — and we read a lot. Sometimes it was the same book every night (at our toddler’s request) but it was still reading.

I’m a strong believer that reading to your baby, toddler or preschooler is more beneficial than we might know. It helps with cognitive development and develops stronger language skills, logical thinking skills and concentration.

We used to check out more books from the library than we could carry (or that we could find when it was time to return them) and our kids had quiet reading time when they went to bed every night for years.

Igniting the Imagination

As kids get older and learn how to read on their own, keeping them reading can get challenging. Books become longer and don’t include fun pictures. We all know that it takes more than a page or two to get into a new book, and sometimes kids give up.

Some tweens and teens are natural readers and can’t get enough books. For others, it is a battle.

I have found that the key is finding the right book genre or author that lights up a child’s interest and imagination. We are all unique individuals as are our reading preferences.

For example, when one of my daughters was about 10, she was only interested in reading books that included a hamster as one of the main characters. Thanks to author Betty Birney and her “Humphrey the Hamster” book series, we were in luck.

That same girl, now 13, seeks out books that are or will be made into movies and has a goal of reading them before the movie comes out. My other daughter likes fiction books about everyday life involving teenagers. Forget mythology or science fiction — she wants true-to-life drama.

My 11-year-old son was a bit of a hard nut to crack when it came to reading. Nothing seemed to pique his interest until his fifth grade class read “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry, a story set around Jewish struggles during Nazi invasions of World War II. Now he likes to find books with stories about wartime drama — doesn’t matter if it is Revolutionary, Civil or one of the two World Wars. Although, he does sneak in a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book now and then.

Finding the Right Book

Walking into the library or bookstore, or even browsing through e-book options can be a little overwhelming, but I guarantee there is a book that will interest your child.

The website is a great place to start. It includes a great list of excellent books for all ages and preferences. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a librarian or bookstore employee. They love books and are happy to share ideas and options.

So, grab your kids and dig out your library card — an adventure is waiting behind the cover of a book!

Anne Blankenbiller

Anne Blankenbiller

K-12 & Teens

Most of my mornings, afternoons, and evenings are spent driving the kids here and there—and then back to here again. Every child is a gift on loan from God. As parents, our job is to raise that child to be an independent adult who can contribute to the world using the gifts and talents he or she was given. It is hands-down the most important job on earth!

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