The joy of reading can be shared from generation to generation. Whether you live only a few blocks away or hundreds of miles apart, grandparents have an important role. Your influence and attention can support the children you love in becoming strong readers. It is often said that one of the best perks of being a grandparent is having the opportunity to spoil your grandchild. We have some suggestions that will help you “spoil” your grandchild and nurture a literacy-rich childhood.

Ways to “spoil” your grandchild:

  • Sing songs, recite poetry and do finger plays to help develop language and listening skills.
  • Play word games and do puzzles together. These activities provide wonderful opportunities to build vocabulary.
  • Offer books or magazine subscriptions as gifts for birthdays and other special occasions.
  • Invite your grandchild to the bookstore or library for story hour. Don’t rush. Take time to browse the books and to cuddle together in the cozy chairs. Time is your gift to give.
  • Let your grandchild see you reading and enjoying books. When you’re together, read aloud the words on signs, menus, and captions under an interesting photograph in a magazine or newspaper.

Other things you can do:

  • Share stories, poems and songs from your family’s cultural heritage
  • Use large chalk to write letters or words on the driveway; play ABC hopscotch
  • Provide alphabet stamps (or make them from a sponge) and a stamp pad
  • Chant nursery and other rhymes; gather simple props and act them out
  • Read books on topics of interest to your grandchild
  • Spread a blanket on the floor for an indoor reading picnic
  • Play together with magnetic letters on the refrigerator
  • Share stories from your childhood; show photos, too, if available
  • Make a reading fort together by tossing an old sheet or tablecloth over a table, couch or clothesline
  • Create a tradition of retelling special experiences in your family, such as about the day your grandchild was born, tales of your life or how your ancestors lived
  • Record books on tape for your grandchild. Include a few favorites that you read to your children. They’ll love to hear the enthusiasm in your voice when you add sound effects and/or comments

Books for grandparents and their grandchildren

  • Good Morning Sunshine: A Grandpa Story by Sharon McKenna
  • Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
  • Grandma and Me by Karen Katz
  • Grandma Calls Me Beautiful by Barbara M. Joose
  • Grandma’s Feather Bed by Christopher Canyon
  • Grandma,Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer
  • Grandmas Are for Giving Tickles by Harriet Ziefert
  • Grandpa and Me by Karen Katz
  • Grandparents Song by Sheila Hananaka
  • Grandpas Are for Finding Worms by Harriet Ziefert
  • Grandpa’s Little One by Billy Crystal
  • Hooray for Grandparent’s Day! by Nancy Carlson
  • I Loved You Before You Were Born by Anne Bowen
  • Just Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer
  • Little Mama Forgets by Robin Gruise and Stacey Diessen-McQueen
  • Opa and Oma Together by Patrick Mader
  • Spot Loves His Grandma by Eric Hill
  • Spot Loves His Grandpa by Eric Hill
  • Tangerines, Tea, My Grandparents and Me: An Alphabet Book by Ona Gritz and Yumi Heo
  • That’s What Grandparents Are For by Ariene Uslander and Freddie Levin
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Week at Grandma’s by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • The Gifts of Being Grand by Marianne Richmond
  • The Grandma Book by Todd Parr
  • The Ultimate Guide to Grandmas and Grandpas by Sally Lloyd-Jones
  • What Grandmas Do Best by Laura Numeroff