Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Firsts and Fancies - The Classics

Sometime ago I asked members of our women's group at church about the books they liked as kids or the books their kids liked.  I was expecting to get a list of the classics:

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
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Madeline by Ludwig Bemelman
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda or James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Little House on the Prairie Series by  Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene
The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon
Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Barbar the Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff
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Or more recent ones:
Dr. Seuss Books:  One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish; Green Eggs and Ham; The Cat in the Hat
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak 
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes
The Little Golden Books
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And I did get some of these titles.  I also got some that I'd never heard of.  So I came to the realization that we read stories to our kids that we liked, stories that were read to us, and available to us.  They became our favorites and maybe even favorites of our kids because they were favorites of our parents and grandparents.  
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My folks read Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and The Little Golden Books to us.  I read all the Dr. Seuss books, P.D. Eastman (Go Dog Go, and Are You My Mother?), and others to my daughter.  At school she got favorites from her teachers. 
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I read the Harry Potter Series with her.  She read the Warrior Cats Series, Legend of the Guardians Series, The Princess Diaries, The Twight Saga Series, and several of A Series of Unfortunate Events books.  Her reading has dwindled down since middle school and the first year of high school.  Now she only reads what's been assigned, sadly.
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Nowadays we have so many more books available.  We have the classics.  We have new award winning books.  We have teachers' favorites.  Librarians' favorites.  Talk show hosts' favorites.  Grandparents' favorites.  Mom and Dad's favorites.  We have some that have been made into movies that children have never even read, but they know these stories from the movies. 
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Are you doing the right thing reading "whatever" to your kids?  Shouldn't we all be reading the classics, the award winning books, the list of 100 Great Books for Children to our kids? Are we messing up if we don't?  Are we limiting their education or handicapping them in some way?  No, the important thing is that we read to them and they enjoy reading.  
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I've heard stories of kids not wanting to learn to read because they were afraid their folks wouldn't read to them if they could read by themselves.  Please, assure your kids that you won't stop reading to them.  Parent child bonding over books, over ideas, over stories, over adventures --  it's all good.  The important thing is to read to them and for them to see you reading too.  We have to be a nation of literate people.  We have stories to tell, stories to share, big ideas, and even bigger legacies.  
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Let your legacy of literature live on in your child.  Give them the gift of reading.  Read on.  The pen is mighty.  Write on.  Enjoy.
Tags:  Reading, read to your kids, childhood favorite books, parent child bonding over books, read, write, classic books to read to kids

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