Posted by: Nancy Keim Comley | December 13, 2011

To Read Or Not To Read (With Your Child)

Every Friday on Twitter there is the hash tag #Fridayreads. People use it to tell the world what book they are currently reading. I enjoy scrolling down to see the titles but I rarely post. My average day includes reading stacks of picture books to our youngest child and often a chapter of something to our older child as well as the various audio books we listen to together. I cannot recall a time in the last twelve years when I have simply read one book during one day.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a huge believer in reading to and with my children. For both children lunch time at home includes a hefty stack of books next to the grapes. As our older child progressed in her interests I can remember afternoons sitting on the grass reading THE MAGICIANS OF CAPRONA by Diana Wynne Jones and Holly Black’s entire SPIDERWICK series when she was in bed with a high fever.

The first non school chapter book she read by herself was IGRAINE THE BRAVE by Cornelia Funke. I bless her school librarian. The woman knows our daughter to her insoles and presented her with an adventure book where the girl saves the day. Our daughter proudly trotted around with the book under her arm and when she was done handed it to me and insisted I read it. We have continued that tradition and though I have to admit I never made it through all of Erin Hunter’s WARRIORS series I did try hard.

We hand books back and forth and then talk about them. We both love Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series. Last year she insisted I read THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. (I haven’t gotten a look into Collin’s GREGOR THE OVERLANDER series because she refuses to let them out of her sight, I may have to resort to stealing them when she’s asleep.) Earlier this year I gave her Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN which became such a hit at one point she carried GOLIATH around like a teddy bear.

I love Middle Grade and Young Adult books so this isn’t a wrench for me but I would do it even if I didn’t like the books. The discussions we have and the excitement we share is not to be replaced. Often it leads to other discussions and, as any parent with a middle schooler knows, being available and approachable is the best place for a parent.

As parents we know we need to read to our small children but don’t forget to read with your children as they get older. If you’re not sure what to read, ask a librarian. Or you can go online. The American Library Association, the Young Adult Library Services Association and the School Library Journal are all great sites.

Are there any books that you love to share?


  1. First off I love your daughters taste with The Hunger Games trilogy.

    Second, my own daughter is only ten months old but I already love reading to her. She has recently figured out the flaps on flap books and seeing her little eyes light up as she sees the surprise under the story’s flap is always great.


    • It’s amazing how quickly even babies take to reading. You have years to delight in front of you both.


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