Reading early and often offers a ton of benefits, both for kids and for their parents. Not only does it build language skills, but it also increases the ability to visualize and use imaginative thinking to foster empathy and understanding. Reading also shapes social and emotional development and helps parents and kids bond without distraction — something that often seems increasingly hard to come by. Even just one story at bedtime helps to create a habit that has lifelong benefits.
The titles ahead are a mix of classics and newer works that so many parents have loved reading and sharing over the years. Try to talk to your child about what you’re reading, whether you’re reading together or solo, and see what they think of the book. Not only will this help you to find other future favorites, but it will provide insight into how your child is thinking and growing in other ways as well. Parent tip: If reading isn’t their favorite activity, try setting up a “book picnic” with lemonade and snacks — it works wonders to sell summertime reading.
A version of this article was originally published in June 2017.