Guest Blog: Chicago’s First Lady on Reading to Kids

Today we're featuring a guest blog by Amy Rule, Chicago's first lady, who joins us to talk about the importance of reading with young people.

When our children were young, they particularly enjoyed reading books with words that rhymed. I’m sure that’s the case for many children, and it’s part of what can make reading fun. Our children loved to hear favorite stories over and over. Rahm and I always tried to make reading a family activity and chose books with subjects that were interesting to the children. Sometimes we picked books with words that are fun to say out loud. Other times we selected books with silly scenarios that made the children giggle.

If you have enough room, I often suggest finding a special little place in your home where you like to read—maybe it’s a favorite chair or a cozy corner. Our children liked to call it the book corner.

The Chicago Public Library has an awareness campaign that promotes the importance of reading aloud at least 20 minutes a day with the young people in your life. It’s called Take 20, Read Plenty, and I think it’s a great idea. Even as our children got older, Rahm and I continued to read together as a family. We’ve seen firsthand how reading has helped them develop better vocabularies and do better in school. And, of course, it’s a lot of fun.

Most everyone has a favorite children’s book to recommend, and Chicago’s wonderful public librarians are a great resource to suggest books for you to enjoy with your children.

Here’s a list of some of our favorites:

America's Champion Swimmer

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock

Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Frederick

Jamberry

Little Pea

The Magic Hill

My Father's Dragon

The Seven Chinese Sisters

The Story of Ferdinand

There's A Wocket in My Pocket!

Zin! Zin! Zin!

The Chicago Public Library location in your neighborhood can help connect you with these and thousands of other books for you to consider. If you can spend just 20 minutes every day with a child, it can help set them on a path to a lifetime of reading and success in school. And I’m sure you will have lots of family fun as well!

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