One of the most important things for me as a Mom is passing on a love of books to my kids. Books are not just fun and entertaining, they also keep your mind sharp and cultivate thinkers. A love of books can translate into a love of learning, open-mindedness, curiosity and wonder. I think it’s one of the best things you can do for your children.
It’s not so easy to do these days, though, with tablets and smartphones and Apple watches and video games. It’s hard to get my son into a book. I had mild success with a Transformers book but he eventually lost interest and getting him to sit down and finish it was a struggle – I definitely do not want him to associate reading with any sort of struggle. I was disappointed, but I stepped back. I didn’t want to push.
Then, last week I was at the grocery store and I walked past one of those discount bins full of books. You know, the type of bins full of recipe books and cheesy romances with Fabio on the cover? Usually, I ignore these bins because supermarket fiction is almost as trashy as the magazines they hawk in the checkout. Geared towards the Desperate Housewives crowd, they’re nothing short of brutally insipid. This time, though, it was full of books for kids… by National Geographic. Naturally, I stopped and checked them out.
This line of books, which I was not aware of before this, are readers for beginners. They increase in difficulty with the level like most sets of readers. These books are different though, in that they bring the breathtaking photography that Nat Geo is known for, and create stunning and interesting non-fiction books full of the type of information kids love to absorb. There’s one about Dinosaurs, one about trucks, one about sharks, planets, bugs, lions, planes…
They were on sale, so I grabbed 3 for my little guy. Dinosaurs, sharks and planets. I gave them to him later that night when I got home. It was a leap that he would like them at all, so I didn’t expect him to go nuts for them when I gave them to him. He didn’t. He poked his head in briefly and moved on to something else. Oh well, I thought. I’ll keep trying.
The next morning – Saturday morning – I woke up and he’d already been up for some time. On the weekends, when he wakes up before us, he usually heads to the T.V. and watches some Netflix until we rise. I expected to see him on the couch, watching Space Racers but when I got to the living room, he was sitting there with the Dinosaur book by Nat Geo Kids, reading in silence. I was stunned. This is the first time I have ever seen my son pick up a book and read on his own. I was so excited. I kept quiet, didn’t make a big deal of it (the best way to make him want to stop) and kept my eye on him as I went about making breakfast and tidying. Eventually, he reached the end of the book, set it down and said,
“Mom! Did you know birds are dinosaurs?”
I asked him if he’d read the whole thing. He said yes. I was so proud. Later that day, we went out and bought more. His interest has not faded at all.
The books are also supported by a website full of games, prizes and activities for kids who read. You can log on and download a poster of all the Nat Geo readers available, so your child can cross them off as he reads them and see his own progress. He hasn’t even discovered this bonus to his books yet, and he still loves them.
These books are a godsend (#NoHoly) for parents who struggle to get their kids to see the joy of reading. For $5 each, as well, they are some of the best money you’ll ever spend as a parent. Check them out. Click here.