My children and I read together. We have enjoyed hours with Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh, and Percy Jackson. Roald Dahl is a favorite author and Charlotte's Web has been read several times. Michael Buckley's Sisters Grimm have delighted us and brought us classic fairy tales in a new way.
I find that reading together creates a connection beyond the time spent on the actual reading. Often, my children are inspired to play or act out parts of the books we read. They use the books as a beginning to their own adventures. Hailey Potter, the twin of the famous boy wizard, has been part of the make believe repertoire for at least four years. Narnia has been discovered in the back of a closet a few times. (Alas, no wardrobes at our house.) Golden Tickets to various events and activities have materialized.
Our books have created a secret family language. My children often refer to characters and situations that we have encountered in our readings. If someone feels sad they might say they feel like Eeyore. Wishing to be "like Matilda" is a desire for magic powers. When they compare a situation they are experiencing to one we have witnessed in a book, my children know they will be understood.
We have been able to discuss a wide variety of topics because we discovered them in books. Bullying, dating, death, disease, love, anger, fear...the list goes on. The books have given us an opening to talk about difficult topics. They have given us clear examples of these topics working in the lives of others. We can talk about these situations, weighing pros and cons, and follow them to their conclusion. Because the books help us learn from the experiences of others.
Reading to children isn't just for when they are tiny. Read a book with a child today.