Recently I shared my number one tip for helping kids become successful learners: by reading aloud to them every day. Now I want to share some websites parents can plunder to help kids discover new books and reading fun.
Finding new titles makes a delightful outing if you live close to a library or bookstore. If you don't, try searching online. Many local libraries have digital catalogues for searching or browsing. You can also make use of websites that sell books to find titles children get excited about. Many offer free services like book extracts, video trailers, and links to author sites.
Reluctant readers might discover a book by playing games based on it. Scholastic's STACKS (for ages 8-12)
has lots of book-themed games kids can play. The BBC site CBeebies has stories and literature-based games, too.
Barnes and Noble's Online Storytime is a neat way to discover new books with your kids. Listen to stories like Where the Wild Things Are and Fancy Nancy: Bonjour Butterfly, while you see each book's illustrations. The Screen Actor's Guild shares a range of great titles in Storyline Online.
YouTube will bring you hundreds of children's book trailers -- try searching for the channels of publishers you respect. Or find one trailer and check out other suggestions at the end. These videos are designed to excite kids about books, so let's take advantage of that.
Poetry is important for kids too. A single poem is something we can share with kids in a couple of minutes, so it's easy to fit into a day. Humorous poetry is a great way to lure kids who "think" they don't like poetry. Check out websites like Giggle Poetry for poems to read and kooky activities. Shel Silverstein's website is another masterpiece of visual and poetic fun, inviting kids to become poets themselves.
It's wonderful to queue up and grab the latest and greatest in children's books, but let's not discount older books. The International Children's Library has lots of books for us to read online, and aims to promote respect for other cultures. The Rocket Book is one example here, all in rhyme, lots of retro fun, and available in English, French, Hebrew, Korean and Russian. It was originally from the Rare Books Collection, Library of Congress. Fantastic to be able to view it online!
Helping our children love to read is one of the very best things we can do for them. Luckily, there are lots of websites we can add to our parenting toolkit, websites where kids can find new books, read and listen to stories online, or interact with literature and literacy-themed games. Plundering the goodies available to us online might make us sound like Pirate Parents, but could lead to reading treasure!
What's your favorite website to plunder? Share it on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.