Reading is such a vital part of our everyday lives. With reading we can use our imaginations and go to far away places, do heroic deeds, and still come home in time for lunch. We can get to know other people better, try on different cultures, learn more about ourselves, our values and our faith, eat delicious foods, fly with the Wright Brothers, and rediscover the telephone with Alexander Graham Bell.
Such is the stuff of good books. This is where we want our children to be when they read. Where the imagination is full and challenged and still guided to higher ideals. Children will hunger for good reading if that is what they are accustomed to. They will gravitate towards poor writing and the “junk foods” of literature if that is what they are given to read as a steady diet. The reading lists in the Novels & Such section contain examples of good reading for your child to read alone or that both of you can share.
Sharing reading aloud with another person is a very special experience. We read with our children as a habit every night when they were younger. Many families read aloud to their teens as well as to their younger children. Perhaps the most important part of learning to read is learning to love reading, and this is what happens when you read together. You model reading enjoyment to them. Some of the books we enjoyed most will be found in the lists on the next few pages. Some of them will be found scattered about in the Science or History & Geography (especially history) section.
The books over in the Novels & Such section are obviously only some of the good reading available. If you are in doubt as to where to begin, grade levels are given only to act as a rough guideline for you and your child. Children, like adults, like to read at various levels during the day. They need some reading that is easy, which helps to build fluency. Reading at their own level helps to build confidence and reading more challenging material helps to build character. A rule of thumb for which book is right for a child is if they have trouble with five or less words on a page, it is probably the right level!
Children in the early years vary in their readiness to read. A child of 6 may still be struggling to recognize his or her ABCs, or may be reading books at a junior high level. We have included several ways to list books, by division (for example Ages 6 to 8), which includes books that will appeal whether read aloud or by the child, or by interest (for example Historical Fiction or Biographies), where children are more likely to be able to enjoy reading the books on their own. Check the Readers section for grade level reading.
Another good place to look for great reading is in the Series category. CHER has selected series that would do well for read-a-louds or read alone. We have collected classics and new series. Some books in a series can stand alone, while others you will not want to put down until the last page of the last book has been read.