Posted: Feb 03, 2013 4:00 PM
School-age kids love being read to. And there's absolutely nothing like curling up with your not-so-little one and connecting over fabulous books. From classics that you may remember to the latest reads hitting the elementary school bookshelves, here are this reading teacher's favorite picks to read with your favorite school-age girl.

I often find my daughters engrossed in their own books. After long days followed by busy evenings, it's tempting to leave them be and to dive into my own novel. But reading together is a perfect way to stay connected with our children. By discussing favorite parts, gasping at surprise endings and falling in love with new characters, you can create a common bond while carving out quiet time together.

If you and your daughter enjoy...


Because of Winn Dixie cover

We love Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo — Set in small town Florida, 10-year-old Opal India's tale of belonging, friendship and growth draws the reader in with the most colorful of casts, charming of sidekicks and heart-warming stories. We dare you to not fall in love with Winn-Dixie, Opal's dog who was named after the town's grocery store.


Charlotte's Web cover

We love Charlotte's Web by E.B. White — This beautifully written story has been well loved for decades for its poetic language, memorable characters and portrayal of the community, strength and personality of a loveable slew of farm animals. When one of their own is in danger, banding together and a little bit of magic save the day.


11 Birthdays cover

We love 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass — After being birthday bound for a decade, Amanda and Leo have a falling out. Relying on a clever play on words, Mass's main characters find themselves reliving their 11th birthdays until their friendship is resolidified. This sweet story is rich in theme, warmth, adventure and the important tween lesson that kindness always wins.


Gooney Bird Greene cover

We love Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry — Gooney Bird Greene's flair, style, individuality and big personality are memorable on the page and a poignant reminder that being yourself is perfection. Lowry's unique heroine is the new girl at school. She arrives alone, wearing pajamas and cowboy boots, and announces that she likes to be, "right smack in the middle of everything." That pretty much says it all about this fun, light-hearted read.


Heroes of Olympus cover

We love The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus Book 1) by Rick Riordan — This New York Times bestselling author is known for his quick-witted, uber-smart reads. He's modernized Greek mythology and will have you and your girl discussing classic themes set in a new light. This wildly popular spin-off to Riordan's Percy Jackson series is filled with twists, turns and adventures. In other words, it's a perfect read for a girl.


Small Steps cover

We love Small Steps by Peg Kehret — This startlingly honest, first-person account of Kehret's own battle with childhood polio is a must read, opening our eyes to history and our hearts to empathy. Reading Kehret's familiar writing style feels as if you're sitting with an old friend, listening to her story. This memorable novel is a perfect way to introduce your girl to a slice of history.

Realistic fiction

Frindle cover

We love Frindle by Andrew Clements — Lovable trouble maker Nicholas Allen has met his match in his fifth grade teacher Mrs. Granger. When his classroom antics are muted, Nick is bored to tears until he's inspired by Mrs. Granger's true love — her dictionary, of all things. When Nick and his teacher's battle over wordsmithing makes national news, Clement pays homage to the love of words, the power of persuasion and the passion that brings people together. This one is a page-turner.


Ramona cover

We love Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary — Feisty but innocent, Ramona Quimby is the girl you can't help but want to be around. Cleary's relatable story lines are written within a wide array of books complete with consistent characters followed through the years. Each book is filled with natural conversation starters and perfect lead-ins for making connections, teachable moments and so very much laughter and tears.

One more thought^ Consider starting with a genre your favorite girl already enjoys, then branch out to new areas. Well-rounded readers become lifelong ones. And if the movie version is available, consider a family movie night afer finishing the book!

More on reading together

Lifelong readers
3 Books you and your tween can enjoy together
Top 6 children's books for Thanksgiving