Being a grandparent is a special thing and whether you already have grandchildren, or you’re about to become one, you’re probably excited about spending time with them. But being a grandparent can also seem like a daunting thing. You may feel like you’re out of practice and you won’t understand the world that your little ones live in. Maybe you’re not sure how to really connect with them?
While it’s perfectly normal to feel this way, the good news is there’s no right way to be a great grandparent. The key to spending quality time with your grandchildren is in finding something that you can share together. And what better way to spend time together than by exploring different worlds and lives through reading? You might already know that reading for pleasure has some surprising benefits for adults, but did you know that reading can be a fantastic hobby for children to take up…
Benefits of reading for a child
When you read to, and with, your grandchildren, it essentially provides them with background knowledge on their young world. This helps them to make sense of what they see, hear and read in everyday life. In fact, reading to children is proven to improve cognitive skills and help along the process of cognitive development.
According to the Reading Agency, children who read books often earn higher results in maths, vocabulary and spelling tests at age 16 than those who read less regularly. You can help jumpstart your grandchildren’s reading success by reading to them during infancy and their early toddler years.
As well as that, households with more books are associated with reading enjoyment and confidence. For children who have over 200 books at home, 73% feel they are ‘very confident’ readers and only 12% don’t like to read.
And while the benefits can be numerous, one of the key benefits of reading with your grandchildren is that it provides an opportunity to create a special bond with them. So what are you waiting for? Get started with one of our suggestions below and get stuck into a world of fun with your little one.
1. Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. She’s the boringest grandma ever: all she wants to do is to play Scrabble and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma.
1) She was once an international jewel thief.
2) All her life, she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels, and now she needs Ben’s help…
This much-loved story could be great for telling your grandchildren that they don’t know everything about you, and you could have some adventurous stories of your own up your sleeve!
2. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. But what will await them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest?
Michael Rosen's repetitive text has a musical charm that lends itself perfectly to reading aloud, this award-winner is a classic. Michael Ronsen’s prose has a musical charm that is perfect for chanting along with your grandchildren.
3. The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
The kitchen window at Nanna and Poppy's house is, for one little girl, a magic gateway. Everything important happens near it, through it, or beyond it. Told in her voice, her story is both a voyage of discovery and a celebration of the commonplace wonders that define childhood. The world for this little girl will soon grow larger and more complex, but never more enchanting or deeply felt.
The Hello, Goodbye Window is a great book to share with children who spend a lot of time with their grandparents. It’s a beautiful and touching book that uses fantastic illustrations to describe the bond between grandparents and grandchildren in a powerful way.
4. Grandpa Christmas by Michael Morpurgo
Every Christmas Mia and her family read a letter which her Grandpa wrote to her. His letter is a warm, impassioned and heartfelt wish for a better world for Mia to live in. He remembers fondly the times they spent in his garden finding frogs and worms and planting seeds.
But Grandpa worries that all the things they love so much are in danger …
His letter is a hopeful plea to Mia (and to all of us) to continue to care for and protect our precious world.
Best-selling author Michael Morpurgo and illustrator Jim Field have joined forces to create this stunning and powerful book. Grandpa Christmas describes the touching and beautiful relationship that Mia and her Grandpa share. As well as that, Mia’s Grandpa uses his Christmas letter to teach Mia about the planet and her responsibility when it comes to looking after it.
5. Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet Ahlberg and Allan Ahlberg
Each beautifully illustrated page encourages young children to interact with the picture to find the next fairy tale and nursery rhyme character.
In this book
With your little eye,
Take a look,
And play 'I spy'
This timeless book is brilliant for younger children. The lyrical rhymes are a delight to read and each rhyme invites you to get lost in the gorgeous illustrations. Children and adults alike will love this book.
6. The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony
A sudden gust of wind sets off a marvellous London adventure for the Queen, the Queen’s men and one very special hat. So let’s follow one determined, dare-devil queen through London Zoo, over Tower Bridge and up Big Ben … just where will that hat land?
This delightful book will take you and your little one on a hilarious adventure all over London landmarks, including Tower Bridge, Big Ben and London Zoo. It’s charming illustrations and easy-to-follow prose is sure to be a hit with children.
7. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
In a great green room a little bunny is tucked up snugly and safely in bed and is getting ready to say goodnight to all the familiar things in his room, one by one...
Goodnight Moon is a gentle bedtime story that has lulled generations of children to sleep. The soft, comforting rhyming and stunning illustrations make Goodnight Moon a fantastic book to read to your grandchildren at bedtime.
8. How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan
When your grandad rings the doorbell, it's babysitting time! This is a hilarious and accessible picture book about a child spending time with his grandad...
This wonderful book is written in a how-to style. The narrator gives important tips for 'babysitting' a grandad, including what to eat for a snack, what to do on a walk, and how to play with a grandad. It’s a playful delight that offers a lot of inspiration for grandchildren spending time with their grandparents.
9. Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival
Norman had always been perfectly normal. That was until the day he grew a pair of wings!
Norman is very surprised to have wings suddenly – and he has the most fun ever trying them out high in the sky. But then he has to go in for dinner. What will his parents think? What will everyone else think? Norman feels the safest plan is to cover his wings with a big coat.
But hiding the thing that makes you different proves tricky and upsetting. Can Norman ever truly be himself?
Perfectly Norman is a poignant story about what it can feel like to be different and how to cope with those emotions. It’s a great book to help teach your grandchildren about self-acceptance, self-love and the importance of being yourself.
10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf...
We couldn’t make it to the end without including this iconic storybook. This simple and hopeful story is probably one of the most-read children’s books in Britain. And it’s for a good reason. Eric Carle's vivid and colourful illustrations are sure to inspire little readers for years to come.