If you're worried about coronavirus shutdown induced summer slide, we're here with the antidote to get your family reading.

By Maressa Brown
June 30, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Every parent knows there's tremendous power in engaging in story time with your children. Research proves it: A recent study published in Developmental Science linked parent-child reading time to children's later receptive vocabulary, reading comprehension, and internal motivation to read. In an effort to promote these benefits and more, Penguin Random House has partnered with Parents on a nationwide initiative called Read Together, Be Together that celebrates the importance and power of reading with young children.

The first phase of programming, which launched in March, featured daily virtual story times with celebrity readers and bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators over the course of six weeks. The program launch also involved the donation of 750,000 books to First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books and educational resources to children in need, many of whom are especially at risk while schools and childcare facilities are closed due to the pandemic.

Penguin Random House Book Covers
Credit: Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Penguin Random House (3)

Today, as part of the second phase, Penguin Random House has released low-priced hardcover editions of six classic children’s books, featuring exclusive reading tips from Parents. Priced at $9.99, the special hardcover editions include The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss, Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney, The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio, and Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. The books will be available for a limited time at various retail locations, such as Walmart, Target, Books-a-Million, Amazon, and independent booksellers nationwide. See the full list of retailers, as well as additional book recommendations organized by age and interest, at ReadTogetherBeTogether.com.

Parents can also check out the Read Together, Be Together e-hotline, which offers personalized book recommendations from Penguin Random House, throughout the month of July.

Of the initiative, Barbara Marcus, President & Publisher, Random House Children’s Books, and Jen Loja, President & Publisher, Penguin Young Readers, said in a press release: “At Penguin Random House, we are dedicated to instilling a love of reading and learning in children from infancy onward. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Parents this summer, with our e-hotline for recommendations, curated book lists, and specially priced editions to make the experience more accessible for all—and hope that we can continue to help caregivers find the perfect books to inspire the young ones in their lives."

Julia Edelstein, Editor-in-Chief of Parents, added, "Reading with your kids is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help them flourish in school and in life." She also noted that in celebration of Read Together, Be Together, and the brand's ongoing focus on the importance of reading, the theme of our August issue is Raise a Reader.

As families navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, they're finding comfort in tried-and-true routines. And one thing's for sure: Given the numerous benefits of reading to babies and young children, getting swept up in story time is clearly one of the best ways for parents and kids to spend extra time at home.