Got young readers on your Christmas list?


By Melissa Martin - Contributing Columnist



Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child’s life, learning to read will be as natural as learning to walk and talk.” www.readingrockets.org.

I going to share my favorite book publisher with you. The authors are specialists in their field. The end of the books contains tips and information for adults.

The books at Free Spirit Publishing are my little helpers. As a child therapist, I often recommend specific books to parents, childcare staff, school counselors, teachers, and kids. Got a kid that bites? There’s a book for that.

Board Books

Here’s one to help youngsters learn patience while waiting to open holiday gifts. “Waiting Is Not Forever,” a board book by Elizabeth Verdick for toddlers.

One of my favorite tools for parents is called “Teeth are Not for Biting,” a board book by Elizabeth Verdick for ages 1-4.

“Reading exposes children to stories and characters that can help them learn traits of empathy. By connecting to book characters, children can learn how to relate to others. They can better understand what other people are thinking and feeling and can put themselves in others’ shoes. Building emotional intelligence at a young age can help children cope in all sorts of situations.” www.readingpartners.og.

Picture Books

Learning how to manage big feelings leads to the ability to self-sooth. “1-2-3 My Feelings and Me” by Goldie Millar and Lisa Berger. Help children, ages 3-8, understand and manage emotions.

What about a book series for rumbustious boys, ages 5-8? The Zach Rules Series by William Mulcahy is just what you need. Each of the four books presents a single, simple storyline involving an everyday problem typical of young kids.

Do you have a chatty child? “Tessie Tames Her Tongue; A Book About Learning When to Talk and When to Listen,” was written by Melissa Martin (me) for ages 5-9. With support from her parents, teacher, and school counselor, Tessie learns to talk less and listen more.

“Cool Down and Work Through Anger” by Cheri Meiners, M.Ed. (ages 4-8) helps children recognize and express anger inappropriate ways.

“Penelope Perfect; A Tale of Perfectionism Gone Wild” by Shannon Anderson (ages 5-9). Highly recommended for kids that develop anxiety from trying to be perfect.

Chapter Books

“Cliques, Phonies & Other Baloney” by Trevor Romain and Elizabeth Verdick, for ages 8-13 years. Navigating social groups can be tricky. This book will help with the girl drama.

“Speak Up and Get Along! Learn the Mighty Might, Thought Chop, and More Tools to Make Friends, Stop Teasing, and Feel Good About Yourself” by Scott Cooper for ages 8-12.

“Free Spirit is the leading publisher of learning tools that support young people’s social-emotional health and educational needs. For over 35 years, our mission has been to help children and teens think for themselves, overcome challenges, and make a difference in the world.” www.freespirit.com.

Happy holiday reading with kids!

By Melissa Martin

Contributing Columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.