400 Minutes of Reading a Month

Updated on September 02, 2012
M.M. asks from Plano, TX
19 answers

my son just started Kinder this week. They are encouranging him to read a bunch, at least 400 minutes a month. I would like to buy him new books. Any suggestions of any books of authors, that you buy your kiddos?
he does not read yet, i would be reading to him, but is statring to recognize words. Would prefer with pictures as he likes to narrate what is happening with the picture for fun.

Thank you so much.

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answers from San Francisco on

I still love the old Dr. Seuss books. Not only are they good beginner readers, but they are so darned funny and entertaining! My favorite is the Foot Book. You can really get a rhythm going reading that book. My GD used to ask me to read it to her ALL THE TIME - we had a blast with it.

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answers from Phoenix on

It only makes out to about 20 minutes or so a school day, less if you're doing it on the weekends. It's not really that much. DD's school has a goal of 20 minutes a day.

I usually just buy books at the 2nd hand store, you can also go to the library to keep the rotation of books moving. Kids love the "Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed" book, and it's related books. They also love the "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" and related books.

Different kids like different types of books, just get a variety & see what he takes to.

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answers from Norfolk on

ONLY 400 minutes a MONTH (as a minimum)?
Jeepers! That's only 6.66 hours.
Ok, I admit we're obsessed crazy readers in our house.
When my son was in kindergarten, we'd read when ever we had to wait 15 min for anything.
If we were ready to leave the house in the morning early - we read.
If we were waiting for diner - we read.
Dr's office waiting room - we read.
Bedtime routine - we read 2 and 3 stories (about an hour of reading) - we had almost every Dr Seuss book memorized - and we LOVED the snuggling.
Reading is ALWAYS a treat for us!
It still is!
Our son struggled with it through kindergarten, 1st grade and the 1st half of 2nd grade and then he just took off.
By 3rd grade he was reading Harry Potter on his own (the school librarian couldn't believe it) and then consistently reading at several grade levels above his grade.
Putting it all together, we probably read about 1.5 hrs a day.
Which would be roughly 2738 minutes a month.
You can see why 400 a month seems like a miniscule tiny fractional amount of time to me.

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answers from Lubbock on

We always loved to read!!! It would have been harder for our family to limit it to only 15 minutes per day or 400 per month.

My son loved all of the Eric Carle books at that age. We often went to the library. We found out that it is best to go to the low income part of town. There was a much better collection. Our local library was very picked over and filled with agenda type books. Let your on choose what he wants.

As for a home library, books are great gifts. If you choose something that you will read aloud to your son, make sure that it is something that you find interesting or beautiful. That way you will actually enjoy reading it for the 200th time.

We loved our book "the 20th Century Children's Book Treasury". Amazon has it for $20.00. It has 44 illustrated classic picture books for the price of two of them. We could always find a great story in this book to read. It also exposed us to stories that we might have missed - like ones about girls. I liked that he got a different perspective occasionally.

Another collection is the Harper Collins Treasury Picture Book. It is for ages 2 and up with stories like Goodnight Moon and Harold and the Purple Crayon. It has simpler stories which might be nice to have if there are also younger children in the house and for when he starts to read to you.

Teacher's First website has a list of the best books. I agree with their compilation.

Do remember that each child is individual. Let them guide you. We read for hours every day, so my eldest was very advanced. If you give a child a book that is out of his or her "zone" they will not enjoy it. It will either be boring or not within their understanding. My son's favorite kindergarten book was Charlotte's Web. He could read it independently, but that was only because we had invested about 400 minutes per week from the day he was born. Remember, you are not spending your time reading, you are investing it!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Our kids have to read about 30 minutes per day in 3rd grade which I agree is fine. The other day I let her go with me to the dance studio while I worked in the clothing store and she needed somewhere quiet to read so imagine someones surprise when they opened the dressing room to find a little girl laying in the floor reading a book...lol. It was funny.

I suggest you look at Walmart in the toy department for the level books. They were really fun for the kids because they are about current things in the kids world and they are based on the child's reading skills.

Here are some links to these books and more. Anything that interests him is appropriate. The girls loved Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Amelia Bedelia, and all the girls one.

Our boy loves the Berenstain Bears, Disney characters of any sort, Little Bear, all the action stories.



answers from Iowa City on

My kindergartener likes Karma Wilson books. Dr. Seuss. She loves the 'step into reading" books because she can read them herself (I can't remember all the titles...Hot Dog, Dragon Egg, Stuck in the Mud, Sunshine Moonshine).

Take him to the library so he pick a few of his own.



answers from Portland on

Well, first, it may be that YOU are reading to your son. Here are some books we've recently enjoyed (both of us- Kiddo is five)

Beverly Cleary: The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Runaway Ralph
Holling Clancy Holling: Pagoo, Paddle-To-The-Sea
My Father's Dragon
The first three books of the "Little House" series (pre-read as there are some situations which require editing, esp. in the beginning of Farmer Boy and the discussion of the Indian Wars in Little House.)
Paddington Bear books

I'd go with Easy Readers for your son's age.The 'Frog and Toad' books are great! Also Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel as well. (same author as Frog and Toad) Cynthia Rylant's books (Henry and Mudge, Mr. Putter andTabby) I don't know what your son's level of reading proficiency, but instead of buying books, I'd strongly encourage you to take weekly trips to the library. Librarians usually have a special section for Early Readers. the Beginning Facts section also has some books which will show a categorized level of proficiency on the cover. Otherwise, do also read aloud good quality books. This is what builds the vocabulary and love of literature.



answers from Salinas on

Beware of making it into a chore. While 400 minutes isn't very much at all it just sounds overwhelming. I am not a fan of "forced" reading time from parents or teachers but I am also the Mom of girls who have always loved to read for pleasure so I know for some kids keeping track is necessary.

The funny thing is we didn't raise readers by having them read but by reading TO them. Nearly everyday, chapter books at a very young age, books that they never could have read to themselves when they were small. I believe if you get them hooked on LISTENING they will become hooked on reading as they mature and learn to read more complicated stuff to themselves. Lets face it the storyline and plot in most of those early reader books isn't exactly inspiring.

I read somewhere that by the time kids are reading well to themselves at 1st or 2nd grade most parents stop reading aloud to them. I am convinced my kids love reading because I STILL read aloud to them as well as reading for pleasure myself in front of them. By all means have him read aloud to you but find a chapter book that he is drawn to and read to him as well. There is something very sweet and bonding about sharing a book in this way, it's addicting and before you know it he will want to discover literature on his own. Like most challenges in life the drive to read well has to come from within.


answers from Lakeland on

We started with the "I Can Read" books on level one. I would point to the words as I read them to her. I would also let her pick out which books she wanted, like certain characters etc.




answers from Houston on

400 mins. That makes it sound so ominous. That's about 30 mins per business day, none on weekends, or about 15 mins a day including weekends.

Go to scholastic.com/bookwizard. There you can enter the name or author of a book which he is able to read on his own and it will give you the reading level which your school uses of that book. Once you find out the reading level, check to the left of the results and it should give you a list of suggested books of the same reading level.

I never buy books which I can find at the library, so I just copy the name/author of some of the books and browse the section they are at the library. That saves me a bunch of money bc once my son, who reads alot (2-3 books a day), finishes a book, he doesn't want to read it again, and there is no way I can afford his reading habit lol.



answers from New York on

My girls are now in high school, but here are some of their favorites when they were little...

Are you my mother? PD Eastman
Little Bear
The Gingerbread Man
Nate the Great
If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and similar books

I also recommend the Dr. Suess books.

My daughter loved The Magic Tree House series.These are chapter books and don't have many pictures but he may enjoy the stories if you're reading to him.

It's a good idea to continue to read his toddler board books to him. Even though there may only be a few words on the page and it will only take a few minutes to read the book, he will being to make the connection with the words and the pictures.

You may want to go to the library with him and let him choose books he thinks he would like. If you find a favorite, then purchase it.



answers from Redding on

My daughter started kindergarten at 4 and fortunately, she absolutely loved everything about reading. I got her a library card and going to the library to pick out and return books was very much a part of our regular routine. It helped to teach her a love and responsibility for books. We used the computer to search for books and then would find them according to the filing system. It was such a great experience for her.

400 minutes a month sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. We always read well above that. I also had books from when my mother was a child that both of my kids absolutely loved reading. You can find some real treasures in second hand stores as well.

If you have a local library, I would really encourage you to visit there. What are your son's interests? For instance, if he loves trains, you can usually use the library's computer to search. "Books about trains for beginning readers", etc. I found that with my kids, the finding of the books made them much more excited to read them.

I think fostering a love for reading in our kids early on is one of the greatest things we can do for them.

Have fun!!!



answers from Tampa on

Get him some Biscuit books. They are all for early readers and are about a puppy named Biscuit. My kids love them!



answers from Pittsburgh on

This is only 15 minutes a day. I assume you already read to him for 15 minutes a day.
Dr. Seuss - most are appropriate, all are fun. When he starts reading, Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat are great first reading books.
Arnold Lobel - Frog & Toad, Owl at Home
Homer Price by Robert McClosky (also Make Way for Ducklings if you don't already have it).
Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Where The Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak



answers from Washington DC on

My first suggestion would be Curious George! I just love that silly little monkey, and i remember as a young child i would pull my little red wagon to the library with my mom or dad & I would just load my wagon up with Curious George books!

Also - Clifford The Big Red Dog.
Amelia Bedelia [sp?]

And may i suggest this - if you have a Nook Color [not sure about Ipads and other tablets, but I'd be surprised if they didn't have something similar] there is a free App, i think it's called Story Time but i can't quite remember rn... anyways! It has tons of fairly short stories that regular kids of all ages have written & provided illustrations for! They sort them by age groups & there is even a choice to write your own stories.

That leads me to another idea - Invest in a good journal/notebook and start collaborating with your child to write his own stories! They can be about anything - from a fun superhero fantasy he has, to the latest dream he had about eating cake and ice cream for breakfast ;) The point is, it is really great to give your child that creative outlet & it is also very fun to then go back and read the stories he came up with and watch how he develops from this age onwards.



answers from New York on

It depends on your son's reading level? Has he started reading yet? Can he sound out words?

For relatively new readers, all of the below are good:

The BOB books
The mini-super-hero books for beginning readers
Mo Willems' Pigeon and Elephant & Piggie books
Any Dr. Seuss beginning reader that he hasn't had read to him

If your son is a bit more of an advanced reader, I can give you 101 more recommendations. Please just edit your post or add a "So What Happened."



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter has well over 200+ books, we love to read to her. Having a huge library to pick from makes all the difference in the world, it's no fun reading the same books over and over! Every night my hubby picks one and she picks one for them to read together, and then I pick one and she picks one for US to read together. She will be starting kinder as well. Some of our favorites are:

The luckiest one of all by bill peet (I love books that rhyme)
stand back said the elephant, i'm going to sneeze!
And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street
children make terrible pets
pete the cat
Interrupting chicken
I want my hat back
bedtime for bear
lost and found (by oliver jeffers or something)
press here
beautiful oops
the dot
alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day

I suggest finding books you want at the library first, and if he likes them THEN go out and buy them. You can avoid a lot of duds that way.



answers from Seattle on

That's really not a lot. It's only about an hour and a half per week, and less than 15 minutes per day.

No idea what reading level your son is at but

VERY early:

1234 Books (reading levels that gradually increase on soooo many topics)
Serendipity Books
Doctor Seuss

Beginning Chapter Books

- Magic Treehouse Series is one of the best early reading books (lots of repetition, but actual stories, and over 50 books last time I looked).

Higher up:

- Encyclopedia Brown are great super short stories
- iWitness (higher) & iWonder (lower)
- Graphic Novels / Comics (tons and tons of literary options here, including fairy tales, etc., not just spiderman, etc.)

Higher up:

- Geronimo Stilton (wacky text, still a lot of pictures)
- George's Secret Key to the Universe



answers from Roanoke on

Since he isn't reading on his own yet, leveled readers would be great. BOB books are great, and Scholastic is a great resource for those as well as other leveled readers. The library may also have a leveled reader section. No need to purchase them all, but having a few on hand that he can read and reread would be good.

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