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Every family has them. Fluff books that are based on favorite tv characters. Books lacking in varied vocabulary that are mostly annoying to read. Books that you’ve read so many times you wish they would conveniently disappear from your library for a little while.
But then there are other books. Family favorites. Classic tales that you don’t mind repeating. And books that actually teach your kids something that they enjoy reading. Those are the books to fill your shelves with.
Finding family favorites, warm fuzzy stories, and good kids’ fiction is pretty easy. There are so many good stories out there that even a cursory glance around the library or bookstore will net you at least a few keepers. Or go here if you need a step in the right direction – we love book recommendations from this site! But finding good educational books that actually teach kids something in an engaging way AND that kids actually enjoy? That’s a little bit harder.
National Geographic has a whole line of books dedicated to teaching kids about all sorts of things in a way that is fun and interactive. Their books are designed with kids in mind. Bold colors, eye popping illustrations, and insets with more information to catch their interest. Cute puns and jokes to make everybody laugh. And lots of those facts that young readers are so eager to memorize and tell you over dinner. Like how scientists are trying to 3D print pizza on Mars. Seriously. Even I am intrigued by the idea of 3D printing food, much less on another planet!
National Geographic Kids also has a way to continue the fun online with their Super Readers website. Here parents can download a poster for kids to check off all of the books they’ve read, at whatever level they’re currently reading. There are activities to go along with the books, as well as printable prizes like bookmarks, stickers, and door hangers. This is a way to continue the learning from the books in an interactive way. For older kids, there are also quizzes, polls, and other activities as well.
We don’t do a lot of online activities or games with our kids just yet, but lists? They love lists. They are my children in that aspect, for sure. And the boys each have a growing stack of books next to their beds, each with at least a couple that they’ve started, plus more just waiting to be read. (I’m so proud!) So more bookmarks are probably a good idea.
March 2 was Read Across America Day. Hopefully you cracked open a book or two with your family! But reading good books certainly isn’t limited to one day. In our house, every day is a reading day.
And I love to encourage my kids to read a variety of books. Just like I read a mix of fluffy fiction, exciting fantasy, and non-fiction that teaches me something, I want them to experience a variety of books too. So along with their Magic Treehouse and Batman, they get some Mars rovers and Red Pandas, and I can tell that at least some of it is sinking in when they tell me random facts about what they’ve discovered.
If you’re looking for something new to mix into your family library, try some non-fiction. A family that reads together learns together.