Last December I began checking out children’s magazines to read aloud to the kids. I saw a magazine on display at the library one day and decided to skim through it. Needless to say, I liked what I saw so I immediately started browsing through some of the other magazines and ended up checking out ten by the time I was done.
I want my children to have a varied reading diet that exposes them to different types of reading material and helps them make connections with the real world. That’s important to me and I know it will benefit them in the future.
As I’ve been reading these children’s magazines over the past five months, I’ve come to realize a few surprising things:
- A wonderful feature about children’s magazines is their format. They don’t tend to have long items of text. Instead you find short stories, short articles, text boxes with bullet points, illustrations with captions – lots of snippets and textual treats for little ones. For a child who is beginning to read independently, but not sold on the whole reading thing, a chapter book might be off-putting. The format of magazines may be much more attractive. Food for thought for those of you with older kids.
- In magazines, you can find articles that further children’s knowledge and interest in all sorts of topics, from pets to gardening. You’ll find different text types too – narratives, recounts and recipes all of it aimed at their interests.
- Magazines are an excellent vehicle for teaching kids elements of visual literacy. They’re a great source of maps, tables, illustrations, graphs, pie charts, labels, captions, cartoons, and diagrams.
- I introduced the kids to some new vocabulary words that I probably wouldn’t have come across in some of the books we read.
- My daughter has become familiar with the different parts of a magazine, like the cover story, the table of contents, the date, and page numbers.
Pretty cool, huh?
Here are some magazines I recommend:
Ages 6 mos.–3 yrs.
This board-book style magazine offers babies simple stories and rhymes with lots of photos. It features regular characters, like Kim and Carrots, and includes a page of read-aloud tips and child development info on a page just for caregivers. Made with nontoxic ink, rounded corners, and no staples. This magazine is a favorite for both of my kids!
Highlights High Five Magazine
Stories, poems, “The Adventures of Spot” comic strip, and activities like looking for hidden objects in pictures appear in each issue. Also included are a read-aloud story in English and Spanish and a removable activity section. (I also learned there is a sister magazine called Highlights Hello aimed at kids ages birth – 2.)
This magazine offers enchanting stories and poems to read aloud that are just the right length for a cozy cuddle and is sure to spark young imaginations and develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime. Another favorite!
National Geographic Little Kids
Sized for small hands, this magazine is packed with color photographs, animal stories, features about different cultures, simple science activities, puzzles and games. A recent issue asks why mother kangaroos have pouches and has an activity to help children explore the sense of taste. This is another favorite!
Ranger Rick Jr.
Through color photos, stories, illustrations, and games, children learn about nature, animals, and the world around them. Each issue features lots of animal photos, easy-to-follow text, a pull-out poster, games, jokes, and drawing activities.
Ask is a magazine about science, history, inventors, artists, and more, all written just for 6- to 9-year-olds – the most curious people on the planet!
There are so many other children’s magazines you could choose from. I’m excited to know there is an assortment of magazines that focus on various topics including social studies, cooking, sports, and history that are both educational and entertaining.
Your turn: Do you give your kids access to a wide range of reading material which includes magazines? What children’s magazines would you recommend?