April is Drop Everything & Read Month. One day left to stock your home library!

DEARDid you know that April is D.E.A.R.? D.E.A.R. stands for “Drop Everything and Read,” a national month-long celebration of reading designed to remind folks of all ages to make reading a priority activity in their lives.

So, in preparation, we’ve come up with a list of must-read books for kids by age category to put on your library list. How many have you read?

Books for Preschoolers

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr.
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Books for Children Ages 4-8

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault
The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey
Arthur series by Marc Tolon Brown
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Books for Children Ages 9-12

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder 
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
The Giver by Lois Lowry
James and the Giant Peach: A Children’s Story by Roald Dahl
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Need more inspiration? Here is a Popular 100 Books To Read Before You Die Book Shelf. For children’s suggestions, visit Must-Read Kids’ Books. And, here are 10 reasons why reading is not just important, it’s crucial! In a recent Lifehack.org article, these 10 benefits to reading were explained:

1. Mental Stimulation
“Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia, since keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind. Doing puzzles and playing games such as chess have also been found to be helpful with cognitive stimulation.

2. Stress Reduction
No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.

3. Knowledge
Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.

Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you.

4. Vocabulary Expansion
This goes with the above topic: the more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.

Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own speaking and writing fluency.

5. Memory Improvement
When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history, and nuances, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. That’s a fair bit to remember, but brains are marvellous things and can remember these things with relative ease. Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways)and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods. How cool is that?

6. Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills
Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunnit”.

That same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot; determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.

7. Improved Focus and Concentration
In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, skype, etc.), keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity.

When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

8. Better Writing Skills
This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.

9. Tranquility
In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it’s possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and tranquility. Reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm, while reading self-help books has been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disorders and mild mental illnesses.

10. Free Entertainment
Though many of us like to buy books so we can annotate them and dog-ear pages for future reference, they can be quite pricey. For low-budget entertainment, you can visit your local library and bask in the glory of the countless tomes available there for free. Libraries have books on every subject imaginable, and since they rotate their stock and constantly get new books, you’ll never run out of reading materials.”

At Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, we Read to Succeed!

Educating Delaware for over 30 years! Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 tutoring in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania for over 60 subjects, as well as SAT, ACT and Test Prep, translating and interpreting in 16+ languages, educational testing and more. For more information about Back to Basics’ educational services, please call us at 302-594-0754.

The company offers a unique Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 K-12 Private School in Wilmington, Delaware.For more information about Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 private school, please call us at 302-594-0685.

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