Read together as a family to increase literacy skills and bond during COVID-19 quarantine
As schools shut down and education moved to the kitchen table, Toledo area institutions rallied to help, posting virtual museum tours and resources, recording live Facebook animal enrichment experiences, and providing “stay at home” science experiments. Parents everywhere are exclaiming, “Thank goodness for technology!”
Yet this time of quarantine is also an opportunity to return to the olden days, a time when families gathered together for story time. Reading aloud with your kids helps them thrive — socially, emotionally and intellectually — and studies show that it can also improve behavior and attention span.
Local educators and parents shared their favorite series (the ones that even adults enjoy), and while these are separated by grade, most of these can be read by a variety of ages. A preschooler may not be ready for a chapter book, but s/he can still enjoy the story and benefit from the read aloud. A grade schooler may easily read chapter books, but that doesn’t mean s/he won’t still laugh along with a picture book. Experiment and find the sweet spot that makes all of your children happy!
- Full of bright illustrations, colorful rhymes, and enjoyable stories with thematic lessons, Pete the Cat is a household staple and a favorite of kids of all ages.
- Buzz and Fly Guy are best friends, and Fly Guy can even say Buzz’s name: “Buzzzzz!” Buzz and his unlikely pet go on all sorts of goofy and informative adventures.
- Pinkalicious loves everything pink — flowers, fairies, cupcakes — you name it. Bonus: PBS Kids provides activities to complete after reading and/or watching Pinkalicious episodes!
After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Up Again) by Dan Santat recommended by Dr. Paula Apostolou, Director of Teaching & Learning, Maumee Valley Country Day School
- Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after? While not a series, After the Fall is a picture book that will remind readers of all ages that life begins when you get back up, and Dr. Apostolou created optional learning activities to form the basis of discussion after the read aloud.
EARLY ELEMENTARY BOOKS
- Heidi Heckelbeck is just like every other elementary girl…except she’s a witch! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers and include over a dozen titles.
E.B. White Box Set: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan recommended by Caren Beddoes, 3rd grade teacher at Sylvania Schools
- A box set of classics that never grow old, these stories will make the family laugh and cry together as they journey with these unforgettable characters.
- While Desmond Cole isn’t scared of much, his best friend Andres does NOT want to be exposed to ghosts, zombies, or monsters! But nothing is too scary, icky, or gross for Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol. This chapter book combines illustrations with easy-to-read language and spooky plot twists to keep the entire family on edge.
The Ralph Mouse Collection by Beverly Cleary recommended by Mary Schoen, elementary special education teacher, Toledo Public Schools (also recommended by Beddoes and Johnson)
- Classic stories that many parents loved as children, The Ralph Mouse Series will bring parents down memory lane as kids enjoy the silly antics of a boy and his mouse, an unlikely pair who bonded over their mutual love of motorcycles and a wish to grow up quickly.
- Travel through space with Zack Nelson on his galactic adventures as he moves from Earth to the planet Nebulon in the year 2120, explores a newly discovered planet, helps a dinosaur get back to its prehistoric home, and befriends a space monster.
LATE ELEMENTARY BOOKS
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner recommended by Kirsten Johnson, 2nd grade teacher, Rossford Schools
- The Boxcar Children, another classic, is about four siblings who strike out on their own and have plenty of adventures. This series has been reissued and now includes over 150 titles.
I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis recommended by Natalie Richards, 3rd grade teacher, Sylvania Schools and Emily Schifko, Reading Specialist, Washington Local Schools
- There are ten books in this series, and all are about different historical events. Each book takes the reader through thrilling events, such as the sinking of the Titanic, through the eyes of a child. Some of the books even have audiobooks (on Epic Books accounts if students have access through school/home).
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks recommended by Kirsten Johnson, 2nd grade teacher, Rossford Schools
- The Indian in the Cupboard is a series of four books about miniature characters and BIG adventures.
If your child(ren) loves magic, s/he has likely already seen the Harry Potter saga, but as every adult knows, the books are always better! Even if you’re a muggle, you will enjoy following Harry and his friends on their dangerous and thrilling magical adventures.