Schools and libraries highlight Children’s Book Week each year, and so can parents in their home. Make reading a family tradition. And make reading fun!

Children’s Book Week is April 30 through May 6. Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the U.S. Every year, events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, and homes.

Every Child a Reader is a nonprofit organization supported by the Children’s Book Council to promote Children’s Book Week, which is “Dedicated to inspiring a love of reading in children and teens across America.” Check out www.cbcbooks.org.

The 2018 theme is One World, Many Stories. Each year children’s book illustrators are chosen to create bookmarks, which can be downloaded and printed from the Every Child a Reader website at no cost. Over 50 children’s book authors and illustrators will be spotlighted during Children’s Book Week. Visit the website at www.everychildareader.net.

How can parents and grandparents celebrate with younger children?

  • Throw a book party and invite friends. Celebrate one picture book daily for the week.
  • Reading aloud with children is the most important activity for parents and caregivers too do to prepare children to learn to read.
  • Visit your local public library for story time sessions for babies, toddlers, and younger children.
  • Create a special place for your child to keep his/her picture books.
  • Browse the children’s book isle at your local bookstore with your child.
  • Show kids that you are excited about reading.
  • Launching Young Readers is a public television series designed for teachers, parents, and caregivers, interested in helping children learn to read. Based on the latest research findings, the series consists of 30-minute television programs that explore the stages of reading that every child goes through. The programs feature the country’s top reading experts and explores different reading strategies. Personal stories of children, families, and teachers are included at www.readingrockets.org/.

Reader’s Digest developed a list of 10 tips to make reading fun for children:

1. Read every day, even for a few minutes to show that reading is a daily routine.
2. Create a cozy and comfortable place to read together,
3. Let children help choose what book to read.
4. Talk about the title, book cover, and author.
5. Change your voice to go with characters and action. Tell a lively story.
6. Show the pictures as you read.
7. After you finish the book, talk about the story.
8. Make a connection to something in the story to your child’s life.
9. Ask questions: What did you like about the book? What made you laugh? What surprised you?
10. Read both fiction and nonfiction books. www.rd.com/.

According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report, 70 percent of kids’ ages 6 to 17 want books that make them laugh. Reading and laughing go together.

Helping Your Child Become a Confident Reader and Writer Starting from Birth, downloadable booklet (no cost), offers ways to nurture early literacy skills via daily interactions with children from birth to 5 years at www.zerotothree.org/.

Try reading the following books to baby: Baby Faces, Baby Babble, Baby Peekaboo, Baby Night-Night. These books by Kate Merritt are in the Indestructibles series. Slobbering and gnawing is allowed.

Try the Happy Healthy Baby Series by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis. These sturdy-format books include tips for parents. Titles include: Cuddle, Reach, Move, Eat, Play, Rest.

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” That’s what Dr. Seuss said.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D

Melissa Martin, PhD, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She resides in Southern Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.