As my kids get older and schedules become filled with homework, projects, "hangouts" (because really—they're not "play dates" anymore!), weekend tournaments, competitions, and events, it's difficult to find time for one more thing.
Some weeks, it seems like we can barely breathe because our hours are so packed with activities from the time the kids wake until the time their heads hit the pillow.
So how are kids expected to find time to hunt down really good books to read if they're this busy? We know that we want kids to always have great books at their fingertips—but how?
There are so many great—and not so great—books on the market these days that the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming at times. Here's how we find books that my kids are sure to love:
1. Talk to the librarian or media specialist. For real. Most librarians subscribe to the School Library Journal which is always up to date on the new releases and top books for young readers. And these women and men are in this job because they love books; they hang around books all day, every day. They know a lot.
2. Talk to other kids. Find out what they're reading. Find out what series they love and they can't put down. Ask to share books, swap books, or trade books.
3. Talk to your child's teacher. Your child's teacher knows so much about books and reading, and most likely, he or she has read most or all of the books that the students in his or her classroom have read. Classroom teachers—and school reading specialists—are invaluable resources!
4. Use Scholastic's Book Wizard. If you know there's a book that your child loves, all you need to do is add the title into the search box in "Search for Similar Books," and you'll find a boatload of titles that may work for your child.
5. Use Goodreads shelves. "Shelves" are grouped in a gazillion different ways, and all you need to do is search for your topic. I lean on "Popular Early Chapter Books," "Popular Middle Grade Books," and "Popular YA Books" (young adult), for my kids.
6. Use Facebook. Really. If you're on Facebook, ask your friends what their kids are reading. You may be surprised at the wide range of interesting, new titles that you can find. A simple, "Hey guys, we're looking for new books for our 8-year-old. Can you please share with me some recommendations?" will get you more than a few good titles. Promise!
7. Use hashtags. If you're on Twitter or Instagram, search for relevant hashtags. Popular hashtags for literacy and books are: #kidlit, #childrensbooks, #MGlit, #ya. Or get right into the conversation by searching #kidlitchat, #yalitchat.
As always, we suggest reading the books before you hand them to your child, rather than blindly trusting the opinions of others. But we hope this gives you a good starting point!
How do you find books that work for your kids? We'd love to know!
Please share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!
Read all posts by Amy Mascott.