Fort Worth, Texas,
11:59 AM

I know what you read this summer

A pediatrician's view on the importance of books

“What are you reading this summer?”

If you have been in for a well check this summer, you may have heard me ask your child this question. Why do I ask?  I ask because I am genuinely interested. I have gotten some great recommendations of books for my children to read and books to read aloud as a family from all of you. I also ask because I want your child to know that the adults around them think reading is important and I am hoping that this small question may help them grow in a love of reading. So as we share book titles together this summer, here are some ideas to get and keep your kid reading.

For toddlers that won't sit still: Don't worry about reading the entire story to them. Look at the pictures, point things out on the pages, have them find things on the pages. The Richard Scarry books are great for this and we read them over and over when my kids were this age.

For the school age child that maybe doesn't love reading yet: Get them books on topics they love. Does your boy love Legos? Then Lego® books. Does your girl love animals? Then try National Geographic kids’ animal fact books. They have lots of pictures and fun, short reading sections. Is your kid funny? Then try a joke book – be aware that this leads to the most ridiculous knock-knock jokes being read aloud to you.

For your older school age or teen child: Be a two-person book club. I have done this a few times with my older child and he loves it when I read a book at the same time he is reading it, so he can talk to me about the story. He is so excited to share with another person what is happening with the characters and what may happen next.

For all of your kids: Try reading magazines not just books. Sign your kids up for a reading incentive program. The public library and Braum's both have programs. Do you read on your phone? I do it all the time. Let your kids know that you are reading, not playing the latest version of Angry Birds or Minecraft.

I want your kids to love to read the same as I want my own kids to love to read. So share with me the great books you are reading together. I hope to get out on the patio and read and if I am lucky my boys will be right there next to me doing the same.

Happy summer reading!

Dr C

Vanessa Charette, M.D.

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