At Better Reading Kids we love that so many teachers and librarians are part of our online community. What amazing people they are! They weave magic daily, encouraging reading and a love of books, helping reluctant readers find accomplishment, and opening up endless possibilities for young readers to explore the wondrous literary world. We asked experienced educator and avid reader Mary Ryan to take a peek at the 25 titles for older readers that were voted into Australia’s Top 50 Kids Books. Here is her response:
What a fabulous and diverse collection of old and new titles on the list of the Top 50 Books for older readers 2020.
Books like Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables and anything from Enid Blyton are still on the list because great stories are always great stories. They transported us as young readers and we now want them to transport our children to worlds of wonder and imagination. Books are an easy way to share experiences of our own youth with our children. If my children were still at that age I would ensure they were exposed to titles by Randa Abdel Fattah and Ahn Do, authors who use humour to build empathy and so cleverly expose their audience to diversity and the struggle to fit in.
And by expose, I don’t just mean taking them to the library or buying them the book for Christmas or their birthday. Don’t get me wrong – these are good things to do, but I encourage you to read to your older children or at least read some of the titles your children are reading, so you can talk about them. This can set up a pattern for life.
My eldest son is 27. Last week he plonked himself down on the lounge next to me, holding The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. “Mum, have you ever read any of Mark Twain’s writing? I want to read it to you.”
We sat for about an hour, he read, we talked and googled information about the words and idioms particular to Mark Twain. I learnt that, and maybe it is common knowledge, Mark Twain is a nom de plume! Our wonderful catchup sprang from seeds sown when he was young.
Our habit of reading together and talking about the stories, the words and the characters continues. I can safely say that one of the greatest gifts I have given my son is a love of books, one I am sure he will hand down to his own children.
No matter how old they are, keep reading to them and reading with them… the benefits are lifelong and generational.
Mary Ryan has over 35 years’ experience as a primary school teacher and school and system leader. She currently holds the position of Senior Manager Accreditation and Professional Learning at Catholic Schools NSW developing professional learning for teachers. She has a deep interest in improving outcomes for students through developing professional capital and agency in the teaching profession.
The 25 titles for older readers in Australia’s Top 50 Kids Books 2020 are: