Inspired by The Imagination Tree’s 5 A Day Books challenge, our family’s reading routine has made some major adjustments. Our previous reading routine was very ad-hoc. Different books were read on a daily basis, and our children would always insist that we read their favourite book (which may change on a fortnightly or monthly basis), to finish off our reading time, which was part of their bedtime routine.

The Imagination Tree’s 5 A Day Book challenge is simple:

1. Choose 5 titles from among your usual books (or from the library)

2. Read them every single day for at least a week.

They suggest choosing short picture books which feature strong rhythm and/or repeated refrain so that the children can quickly memorise the words and join in with the story-telling. This empowers them to be able to ‘read’ and re-tell stories from a young age, and also makes them very fluent in a range of text types and literature styles.

This principle of reading the same books over and over to teach the rhythm and structure of language is also advocated by Mem Fox in her book Reading Magic (2001). Mem Fox tells us that children need to hear a thousand stories read aloud before they learn to read for themselves. That’s three stories a day for one year. Ideally, those three stories should be one favourite book, one familiar book, and one new book.

So, whether it be three books or five (or whatever number works for your family), here’s the underlying principle our family has found helpful: read the same books every single day for at least a week. I’m keen to share the books we’re reading each week and I hope you’ll take up the challenge with your children too. Let me know via a comment in this post what books you are reading with your children this week because finding good books is priceless.

Our books this week (2011 August Week 3)

The Ants Go Marching, by Child’s Play, Illustrated by Dan Crisp

The song is catchy, there are lots of rhymes and incorporating actions / gestures with the singing helps with speech development, (according to M’s speech therapist). The illustrations are simple and helpful. I love the way the ants are arranged in an array, (all working towards building a mathematical understanding of multiplication). Hurrah! Hurrah!

Hairy Maclary’s Bone by Lynley Dodd

In an episode of ABC’s playschool this week, N & M saw dogs on the show. Excited about dogs, N grabbed this book off the shelf. A wonderful introduction to the series of Hairy Maclary’s adventures. In this book, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy cleverly finds a way to keep his juicy bone all to himself. Wonderful illustrations & rhymes and an entertaining story. Looking forward to reading more of Hairy Maclary’s adventures. (Many thanks to N & M’s preschool teacher who gave these books to them as a birthday present).

Excuse Me by Karen Carter

Thanks to this book, N & M now take much pleasure in saying, “Excuse me,” after they burp – often with a proud smile to follow. (Many thanks to K&J for giving these books as gifts to the boys).


The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm with illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker

The more I read this book, the more I realise how wonderful it is. Through simple words and clear illustrations, it weaves all the little stories of the bible into the over-arching story of God’s love for the world. This week we read Part 2: A Very Sad Day. N & M always point out that Adam and Eve are crying, and they LOVE the snake crushing part.

About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.