Reading to your children can do wonders for their future success.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, reading aloud to your children and talking about pictures and words in age-appropriate books can strengthen language skills, literacy development, and parent-child relationships.
What’s more, a study conducted last year by a number of pediatricians shows for the first time the biological effect reading to your kids has on their brains.
MRIs revealed that children with greater home-reading exposure had greater activity in the parts of the brain that help with mental imagery and narrative comprehension.
So what are the best books to read to your kids?
As part of its Storybook Project, NPR asked a number of authors, actors, politicians, philanthropists, scientists, and musicians to reveal their five all-time favorite books they’ve read to their kids, and the list so far makes a great jumping-off point for any parent priming their kids for success.
Check out the sampling below, and head to NPR’s ongoing Storybook Project, for more parents and why they chose their favorite books.
“Reading aloud was my favorite part of being a parent to young children, hands down,” Anne-Marie Slaughter, mother of two and president and CEO of the New America Foundation, tells NPR. “I often hunted up and read them books that my grandmother read to me and that I can still recite together with my father. They are enchanted stories, shared memories, distilled love.”
Some of Slaughter’s favorites are:
Robert Fagles’ translation of ‘The Odyssey’
When her sons were younger, Slaughter tells NPR they would read simplified versions of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Greek myths.
“One day when they must have been about 5 and 7 I brought home the actual Odyssey, in Fagles’ wonderful translation, and just read them the first page or two so that they could hear what the real thing sounded like.
“They loved it; we read it slowly, but all the way through,” she says.
Rosemary Wells’ ‘Edward Unready for School’
Slaughter tells NPR that her family members are big Rosemary Wells fans and love all her books.
“But perhaps because my oldest son is named Edward, this one became a particular favorite,” she says. “Edward is a young bear who just isn’t quite ready to join all the happy, busy kids at school. One look at his face on the cover says it all.”