Reading to your children at an early age would have to be one of the best gifts you could give them. Spending some quality time being with your child and interacting with them is important for their development too.
Starting early encourages them to want to read to themselves for example Dr Seuss, Spot and the Miffy series. Later on, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Helen Taylor and Rudyard Kipling among others are terrific authors for children. Their books inspire kids to want to believe the best of people and situations while also enjoying the sheer adventure of a good story!!
Their books include The Famous Five, Peter Rabbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, Pilgrims Progress, Just So stories, etc, etc.
Other books whose authors I can't think of include, Goodnight Mr Tom, The Christmas Cat, The Saddle Club series, Pony Club series, Paddington Bear, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, The Water Babies, Adventures of Robin Hood, Ivanhoe. Steve Parrish, the photographer, also puts out a lot of very interesting sticker books as well as quite a few books on little-known facts of Australia which inquiring minds find useful, too. Try doing the puzzles etc with them and you'll learn some things you didn't know, too!
As well as reading all of the above, we subscribe to Nature Australia, the magazine put out by the Australian Museum in Sydney, Scientriffic and The Double Helix magazines through the CSIRO Education and Lovatts crosswords (for kids). There are plenty of other good reading books and magazines for children to get absorbed into as well but as a mother, I felt that children get bombarded enough in the real world without having to read about that just yet. Encourage and inspire them when they are young and there's a very real possibility that when they grow up they'll want to explore everything around them, because the opportunity to read about it and be read too, when they were young was given to them.
If children observe adults reading they are more likely to appreciate books but if reading is something not usually done at home then giving three children's books to every household is unlikely to change that. Children certainly love the intimacy of being read to but we should not imagine that this will teach them to read.
In fact, a lot of parents are not much good at reading and my experience reading to grandchildren is that a lot of books have superb and imaginative illustrations but less effort is put into how well they can be read out loud and how interesting their stories are to kids.
Senator Lyn Allison
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