Dear Dr. Linda,
Please remind your readers that March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. It’s also “Read Across America Day.” That’s not a coincidence. In May of 1997, a small committee at the National Education Association (NEA) decided to create a day when children of all ages could celebrate reading. And what better day—Dr. Seuss’s birthday! School Librarian
Dear School Librarian,
Thank you for your email and thank you Dr. Seuss! Children who love to read love Dr. Seuss—and children who struggle to read or hate to read will become readers when they are introduced to Dr. Seuss books. The rhymes and silly stories of Cat in the Hat, Go Dog Go, Ham and Eggs and more opened up the world to millions of children. And his final book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, took them on a voyage of life, including all its challenges. “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement in school and beyond, but many teachers, parents and librarians interact with children every day who not only dislike reading because it’s hard for them but become anxious just looking at a book. Whether they have a reading disorder called dyslexia or have been forced to read when they didn’t want to, they’ve come to hate reading.
If your child dislikes reading for whatever reason, don’t be concerned that a book may be too young or too easy. In fact, for struggling readers, the easier the better. Some easy-to-read books are mind openers just as much as more difficult books.
Whether or not a child enjoys a book is not based on how many pages the book has or how difficult the vocabulary is but on whether the reader can become part of the story and start to think! Easy-to-read books, such as most Dr. Seuss books, not only give readers an opportunity to think, but hours of practice. And where reading is concerned, as with just about every skill we learn, “Practice makes perfect.”
Following is a list of 50 classic books for children and youth that are recommended for both the young and the young at heart.
With your child, select one or more of these books. If the child wants to read one book over and over again, that’s fine. It helps with fluency. Make a copy of the list and ask your child to write the author’s name next to each. Ask your child why he or she thinks the author wrote the book. Tell your child which ones are your favorites and why. Have fun! If the title has an * next to its name, it is part of a series.
Select one or more in that series.
1. The Little Engine that Could
2. The Little House
3. Make Way for Ducklings
4. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
5. Bread and Jam for Frances*
6. The Ugly Duckling
7. Charlotte’s Web
8. Curious George*
9. Amelia Bedelia*
10. Say Hello
12. Danny and the Dinosaur*
13. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!*
14. The Frog and Toad Treasury*
15. The Giving Tree
16. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
17. Harold and the Purple Crayon
18. Goodnight Moon
20. Are You My Mother?
21. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone*
22. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
23. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
24. Because of Winn Dixie
25. James and the Giant Peach
26. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
27. The Mitten
28. The Secret Garden
29. Snowy Day
30. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
31. Anne of Green Gables
32. Stuart Little
33. The Cricket in Times Square
34. The Velveteen Rabbit
35. The Red Balloon
36. Treasure Island
37. Tuck Everlasting
38. Mr. Popper’s Penguins
39. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
40. The Runaway Bunny
41. Where the Sidewalk Ends
42. Where the Wild Things Are
43. The Story of Ferdinand
44. A Wrinkle in Time
45. The Secret Garden
47. Little Women
48. The Hobbit
49. Pat the Bunny
50. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Contact Dr. Linda at stronglearning.com if you have any questions about a child who loves to read, is struggling with reading or hates to read.