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Give Children the Gift of Reading

Updated on April 13, 2015
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Yvonne, a retired teacher/librarian, has written many multi-skilled thematic units and book recommendations for elementary school children.


Tips for Parents in Selecting Children's Book Sets

As a school librarian, I have seen first hand, the love affair that children have with certain books so I would like to share some of my knowledge about how to interest children in reading and also to recommend some favorite books. I have included videos of some of the stories and links to other pages which contain pictures, information and/or thematic units about some of the characters in the stories.

Giving children the gift of reading is one of the greatest thing anyone can do. When parents spend quality time, reading to a child the whole family benefits. By adding a plush toy book character for the child to snuggle with and play make believe with, you have added another link to the magic of books. Reading aloud reaches the auditory learner, looking at the pictures helps visual learners and a stuffed animal book character reaches the tactile learner.

Besides the reading tips, I feature as many high quality book and plush toy sets as I could. There are also a couple of outstanding new titles, too. These book sets can be given as presents for Christmas, birthday or any special occasion or just to help a child develop an affinity for the printed word. Reading is the gift that keeps on giving.

Velveteen Rabbit picture courtesy of

Make Read Aloud Time a Special Time Each Night.

Start Reading Early

Studies show that it's never too early to start reading to your child. Children who have been exposed to literature and reading when they were very young, usually excel in school. In fact, some parents read to and interact with their child when the child is still in the womb. My sister taped stories for her little one before she was born and put the head set on her tummy.

Having books and magazines available in the home is very important. Children need to see that reading and books are important to their parents. If you are on a tight budget, then go to the public library and get a library card. You will also find many wonderful programs for children there. Most libraries have a read aloud day for pre-school children and parents. For older children there are also summer reading programs. Parents should take advantage of all the opportunities to further their child's education.

After all, parents are a child's first and their most important teacher.

Reading Poll

Do you have read aloud at bed time?

See results

Old Favorite Stories

Classic Favorite Books and Stuffed Animals

You can't go wrong with the old favorites that have been loved by many generations of children. Here are some of my favorites that are sure to please.

Every child should have a Peter Rabbit plush toy to hug while listening to the stories of Beatrix Potter. This story will help to launch the reading of other wonderful Potter stories such as Tale of Two Mice, Squirrel Nutkin and Benjamin Bunny.

Peter Rabbit and the Velveteen Rabbit are also movies. Watching the video version after reading the stories will expand the experience.

Velveteen Rabbit Part 1

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit is a treasured story about a stuffed animal that was loved so much by a little boy that the toy became real. This classic story by Margery Williams is one that is close to my heart and is perfect for reading aloud.

Poky Little Puppy

The Poky Little Puppy Golden Book is still available to delight children today as it did when it was first published and there is also a sweet toy to hug.

Corduroy By Dan Freeman

On my niece's third birthday, I gave her a brown Teddy bear and the book, Corduroy. My sister said that she snuggled with that bear for years and loved to hear the book read often. She grew up to be a voracious reader and and English teacher.

Complete Adventures of Curious George


Books about talking animals feed the imagination. Children love animals and these delightful stories and characters are some of the most treasured by children.

The stories of Curious George, the little curious little monkey who lives with the man in the yellow hat by H.A. Rey are timeless. The books are available as "singles" and also as a complete collection that will take care of story time for months.

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things has been a kid's favorite since it received the Caldecott Award. It was also made into a movie, but the movie is geared toward older children. There are many stuffed characters and puppets of the various characters, so children can actually act out the story.

Young Children Selections

For the Very Young Child

Books and toys for the very young should be well made and washable. There should be no small parts that may come off that could be swallowed by the child. When buying toys for young children, always check the age level on the box.

Eric Carle's Stories

You can't go wrong with any of Eric Carle's stories. Besides the Mixed Up Chameleon, there are the Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Grouchy Ladybug, Brown Bear and many more. Some come packaged together.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is available sets that teach different learning skills and you can find a multi-colored chameleon stuffed animal at Wild Republic.

After You Plant the Seed, Be Sure to Cultivate Your Budding Reader

Take them to the Library Often.

Get Them Their Own Library Card.


Children love their pets and love to hear stories about pets. They can relate to these stories and learn from them.

The many stories about Max and Ruby, two cute little rabbits are good for children who are learning how to read. The vocabulary is simple and some sets feature a soft toy with a book and read-along CD. Many children love the antics of Max and Ruby.

Clifford, the Big Red Dog Stories

The Clifford the Big Red Dog stories are a delight to read and most of them also teach a lesson about growing up and getting along with others. Clifford stories in film also appear on on television on most Public Broadcasting Stations.

There are dozens of Clifford the Big Red Dog books available. Many are geared towards a particular skill or value. Most children love Clifford and the soft toys are so cuddly.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Newer Titles

Some of the newer titles may not have much of a story line, but if they will get a child interested in books use them. Even though they are not Caldecott or Newbery Award Material, they still can be enjoyed. And besides, one of these cute and funny stories might be just the thing to get your child on the road to becoming a reader.

Thomas and Friends Book Set

Little boys love Thomas and friends. The stories teach lessons about helping others and encourages good behavior, plus Thomas and his friends are trains. Little guys think trains are super cool. These stories were also made popular on PBS. Besides the soft toy, the set has a sound book, too.

Dax Cat Reads!

I hope that this page helps parents choose books for their children that will help them become avid readers.

© 2008 Yvonne L. B.

Spin a Tale for Us.

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    • profile image

      MeInABook 4 years ago

      This is an adorable lens. I love the suggestions listed here. I love personalized children's books. I remember a fun book my parents gave my brother and I.  They were personalized with our own names but spelled backwards.  So my character was a giraffe named 'Kerred'.  I thought that was so cool.  My brother's book had a lion named 'Yeldarb'.  I still like to call him that every now and again...and he's 47.

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      I love your list of books here.

    • denetraharris profile image

      denetraharris 8 years ago

      great blog! my dream job - school librarian.

      check out my lens on jamaica & books.

    • profile image

      Child_Health 8 years ago

      This is a very nice lens. You share a lot of very helpful children's book ideas here. I'd love it if you'd stop by my lens and say hello when you get the chance.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 8 years ago

      What a lot of great books! I am thankful that all four of my kids are readers. 5*

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image

      thepartyanimal2 8 years ago

      Yahoo you are a winner in The Squidoo Home for The Holidays Lens Contest So Go Grab your badge.

    • RuralRoute2 profile image

      RuralRoute2 8 years ago

      Reading to and with children is the greatest gift a parent can give to their children. Children who are read well will go far. 5*'s, Lenroll & Favorite


    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      This is a great lens! 5*'s

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      This is a great lens! 5*'s

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 9 years ago

      Brings back fond memories of reading to my boys. I read to them until they were teens. I always tried to read to them above their reading level. They are all voracious readers today.

    • profile image

      enslavedbyfaeries 9 years ago

      These are wonderful choices for young readers. Makes me remember how much my girls loved to hear their favorite stories over and over again. Bedtime for Frances was a favorite at our house, but I really love the Poky Little Puppy set you found... too cute!!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      With TV and video games, children don't read enough. Nothing stirs the imagination like a good book.

      Beautiful lens