Obviously, I love to read. I always have. I apparently taught myself to read at age 4, and my oldest daughter has done the same. People keep asking me, “How did you teach her to read?” and I wish I could say I taught her, but I didn’t, at least not really. Of course, I’ve encouraged her every step of the way. On her first birthday, she could recognize and say the letter “W” – but we didn’t push it on her! I distinctly remember my husband holding her in the hallway of our apartment on her first birthday and her pointing to each letter on his GW t-shirt and asking “what’s that?” So, he answered. And she learned “W.” We’d take her to the zoo and she was more interested in the signs than the animals. At age 2, we’d lay in bed with her each night and “talk about a letter,” meaning we’d say a letter and she would tell us words that started with that letter… Basically, she’s just always been interested and she’s super smart and a fast learner. Over the past 6 months or so, she has progressed from recognizing individual words to reading on her own.
So, now what do I offer her to read? About a month ago it became apparent that she could pick up any picture book we own and read it. So then what? I got her some books at a yard sale and she amazed me by reading even the books marked as being at a second grade level. So then we went to the public library and got some more. She’s excited that there’s a whole new shelf from which she can pick out books to read, generally those marked “Early Readers.” Here’s a sampling of what she reads, on her own or aloud to her sister, or to us:
- Fancy Nancy books, such as Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl (an I Can Read Level I book). These are fun because Nancy uses “fancy” words for things, introducing lots of new vocabulary.
- Are You Still Mad? This is the second-grade-level book I mentioned above. The librarian tells me the reading levels are all assigned by the publishers and there’s lot of variation, so who knows whether this is true.
- Big Max, The World’s Greatest Detective and Big Max and Mystery of the Missing Giraffe (and I Can Read Level II book). She tells me sometimes that Big Max is “too long,” and she stumbles over some of the words, but all-in-all they’re right at her level – perfect for her to read aloud with me by her side to help her along.
Then we have our read-aloud time, too. Of course, sometimes I read the above books to her, but she has really enjoyed me reading chapter books out loud to her. Our most recent read was an abridged version of The Wizard of Oz from the Great Illustrated Classics series (pictured below). We’ve also been reading some of the Magic Treehouse books (just yesterday we started Pirates Past Noon for the second time), and even The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (is this appropriate for a 5-year-old?)! I have to say, I am truly enjoying this! It’s a little hard, because my 2.5 year old is NOT into the chapter books, but I love when we can snuggle up on the couch and read together and talk about the story! Soooo fun 🙂
I’m looking forward to many more years of this, with all of my kids!
What do you read with your kids? Do you have any suggestions of what to read (or NOT to read) with a curious 5-year-old?