As a parent, reading aloud to your kids might already be a regular activity.. When kids are younger, they are more likely to grow into the habit of reading if they begin to associate the activity with the memory of you reading to them. Reading is also known to develop attention span and language skills from the early stages of your child’s life which can help them perform better at certain life skills and even academically. Apart from that, your kid’s imagination gets strengthened as they attempt to relate to scenarios and characters in certain stories.
A love of reading is a gift every parent should give their child. This week, we are compiling a list of books that you can read aloud to your little one and spend some quality time with them.
Matilda, Roald Dahl
It is a charming and humorous story about a very, very good girl. The story revolves around ‘Matilda’, a perfect five-year old with an imperfect life. Amidst her self-centered family and bully of a principal, Matilda is an astonishingly intelligent and strong character who is loved by everyone. The problems in her life surface when she stands up in defence of her teacher against the principal, only to discover that she has another gift. In this masterfully crafted story by Roald Dahl, children will be exposed to various themes of coming of age, which makes it a fantastic classic for kids between aged 5 - 10.
A great visual aid for this book would be its feature film adaptation available on Netflix, which is sure to entertain your little one.
The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat is a fun, humorous and carefree romp about a troublemaking Cat, who just so happens to wear an obnoxiously tall Hat. This story is best read aloud to younger children since it is a relatively short story. Sally and her brother Conrad are stuck at home alone on a rainy day, when ‘The Cat in The Hat’ appears and offers them the chance to do something fun. However, this plan turns into hilarious havoc, as the cat begins to destroy everything in its wake, only to encourage fun for the kids. The story, though seemingly about an unruly cat, inculcates the virtues of responsibility.
The Percy Jackson Series, Rick Riordan
Although for a relatively older audience (Ages 6 onwards), The Percy Jackson series will be a great initiator for your kids into the wonderful world of mythical creatures, Greek folklore, long winded adventures and inventive humor. The series consists of 5 books, of which the first is titled The Lightning Thief. Percy Jackson, a demigod, is wrongly accused of stealing the prized lightning bolt that belonged to Zeus, the King of gods. He must then go on a perilous adventure to find the true culprit behind the theft. There is no doubt that these books will fuel a sense of adventure and spark intrigue in delving into the depths of such a wonderfully fleshed out world with interesting characters and mystical storylines.
Malgudi Days, R.K. Narayan
As one of India’s contemporary authors for children, R.K. Narayan’s Short Story Collection titled Malgudi Days, tells the story of a young boy named Swami, his endeavors and experiences and the various facets of life in the fictional village of Malgudi. It portrays human beings in the most honest, grounded and realistic manner which is sure to invoke emotion, and also make it more relatable and appreciable for younger kids.
It masterfully shows the innocence of humanity and with its mature themes, can invoke a sense of inquisitiveness among younger children. Truly a must read to your kids and what we call, a timeless story that kids of every age must read.
How I Taught My Grandmother To Read and other Short Stories, Sudha Murthy.
A great book for every young child to experience, this book is heavily popularized in Indian households as it brings with it the simplicity and innocence that lies within each and every kid. The book contains various heartwarming and seemingly ordinary stories with extraordinary meanings and themes. It talks about life, age and literacy and some stories approach themes such as sadness and anger from a childlike, yet mature point of view. It is a masterclass in writing for young children and a must read for everyone.
The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
While The Cat in The Hat is a classic about an unruly Cat, the Lorax is another one of Dr. Seuss’ classics about a lazy yet kind creature who “speaks for the trees”. The central message of the story involves the concerning danger of human destruction of the natural environment leading to climate change, and how we can and must inculcate values of respecting the climate, in the minds of our children. Though heavy handed in its subject matter, it only feels so on the surface. Deep within the pages of this book lies an easy to understand and joyous story about a character who must do everything he can to save the planet.
This book will appeal to children of today as there is a strong understanding and responsibility to the environment among young audiences today.
Coraline, Neil Gaiman
Coraline is the best introduction your little one could have into the genre of dark fantasy, introducing your child to a character such as Coraline, one who is unafraid of confrontation and highly adventurous for her young age. The story involves a young Coraline, being transported into an alternate universe where she is taken in by ‘copies’ of her parents and then realizes that her world has been completely turned around, with constantly putting her in perilous situations. This one is again, recommended for an older audience (6 - 12 year olds).
Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
Most people have definitely heard of Charlotte’s Web being a must read for young children, and that comes with a fair amount of merit. This beloved E.B. White book, also the author of Stuart Little, writes about a pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. Wilbur is born as the weakest member of his litter which leads to him being taken care of by a spider named Charlotte, who tells us of her feelings through writings in her spiderwebs. This is a story worth listening to for little kids as it tells a tender and grounded story of friendship, love, life and death while dealing with the various mature themes in a wholesome, positive and easy to understand manner for kids between the age of 6 and 10.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Another Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and the Chocolate factory is the perfect read for your little ones who love chocolates probably as much as anyone else. It involves a young penniless boy Charlie, who lives with his entire family in a cramped up shack, only to one day receive a Golden Ticket in a bar of chocolate, that turns his life around. The story has themes and morals of honesty, truth, hard work and appreciation for life as we know it with a heavy inclusion of chocolate themed incidents that are not only tempting but also teaches kids to take life in their stride and appreciate the little things.
Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne
As a well loved, contemporary character, the rights of which currently belong to Disney, it is no surprise that a charming soft spoken character like Winnie-the-Pooh would make it on our list. The sheer number of short stories available to read through for your kids is endless. You can certainly approach any Winnie-the-Pooh book as your child’s first book and the characters will leave the same impression that the author wishes to hold across multiple stories without any continuity. In this masterclass of writing for children, the characters show their colorful personalities which allow for a fun filled reading and listening experience for younger kids. Listening to Winnie-the-Pooh and his ragtag band of friends involve themselves in constant hijinks will surely leave your kids entertained and exercise their imagination to new bounds. If your child is anywhere between the ages of 5 and 12, this series is a must read.
Kids can have varied tastes and you can’t know what they enjoy the most until you’ve introduced them to it all. We hope the list above helps you kickstart your joint reading sessions and makes for some truly awesome bedtime stories.