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Back to School, Parents and Reading

CanLearn Literacy Programs

September brings many new things: cooler weather, shorter days, changing leaves… and returning to school. For some families with young children, the start of a new school year is exciting. For others, it can be a time of worry and anxiety. For many, it is both.

Returning to school is always a time when parents think about how to support their children’s reading development best. Parents need to talk with children about what they look forward to learning in the new school year and what worries them. Reading books together offers a perfect springboard to discuss these feelings. Here are five suggestions for back-to-school books to read aloud with young children.

  1. How to Get Your Octopus to School

Just like many children, Octopus is nervous about going to school. He would rather stay home and play, so he finds clever hiding places. This book is full of imagination, humour, and heart. The story and illustrations give children a chance to talk about a time they did not want to do something and include details about what they did to avoid it and why. *

  1. The Pigeon HAS to Go to School

This book is a great discussion starter as it addresses many of the fears and anxieties young children feel as they prepare to go to school for the first time. Pigeon is a great character that almost all children can relate to. This excellent book from Mo Willem’s series captures children’s interest and sense of humour while conveying a message. *

  1. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

Children love this hilarious story about little Penelope Rex, who is nervous about going to school for the first time. It will inspire them to share some of the questions they wonder about before starting school. *

  1. Tomorrow I’ll be Kind

This uplifting and positive story encourages children to think about the most important things about being a good friend. The artwork in the book is beautiful and full of images that can prompt further discussion between parents and children. The story encourages children to promise they’ll be grateful, helpful, and kind.

  1. The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer

When the teacher asks the main character what he did over the summer break, he tells a tale full of daring adventures and mischievous characters. But is it all true? This is a great book to spark back-to-school storytelling and writing. Parents and children could create a comic strip of what they did (or didn’t do?) over the summer. *

Reading aloud with young children boosts their language abilities and prepares them to learn to read (break the code) and love it.

The picture book How to Read a Story illustrates the process of becoming a reader: pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone to share a story, reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and, finally, coming to The End. This story is perfect for helping children and parents understand what reading and enjoying a book looks like.