Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Weekly Geeks #4


One of the issues (just one of many) that I feel strongly about is literacy. My thoughts are simple really. Read, read, read, read, read. There is no better gift you can give a child--your child--than the gift of literacy. What this means for parents is twofold. One is that you should model reading in the home--have books, magazines, newspapers, etc.--so that your child will grow up seeing that you value the written word, you value reading, that it's not just something you talk about in regards to them and homework and getting good grades and writing that book report...that it's a part of your daily life. That reading is a lifelong thing. That it isn't just a pointless, waste-of-time, teacher-is-making-me-do-it thing. The second is that you should read aloud to your child (or your children). It's never too early to start. And it's really a gift that keeps on giving. Another important point is that it's never too late either. You can keep reading aloud EVEN after your child has mastered the basics. It's a fact that they can listen and comprehend above the ability that they can read for themselves. Plus, it's a bonding time that should be nourished. Why stop at the age of seven or eight just because the kid can read Go, Dog, Go or Hop on Pop all on their own? It's a pleasurable activity that doesn't have to end that quickly.

Here are just a few of the books that you might find handy:

Story Stretchers for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos: Experiences, Activities, and Games for Popular Children's Books

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gryphon House (September 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876592744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876592748

Growing A Reader From Birth by Diane McGuinness

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039333239X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393332391

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books; 1st printing edition (September 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156010763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156010764

Reading with Babies, Toddlers, and Twos by Susan Straub and KJ Dell'Antonia

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc. (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402206127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402206122

Baby Read-Aloud Basics: Fun and Interactive Ways to Help Your Little One Discover the World of Words by Caroline J. Blakemore and Barbara WEston Ramirez

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM/American Management Association; 1 edition (July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081447358X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814473580

The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition by Jim Trelease

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); 6 edition (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143037390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143037392

How To Get Your Child To Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1 edition (June 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565123085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565123083

Playful Reading: Positive, Fun Ways to Build the Bond Between Preschoolers, Books, and You by Carolyn Munson-Benson

  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Search Institute Press (February 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574828576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574828573

What Should I Read Aloud? A Guide to 200 Best-selling Picture Books by Nancy A. Anderson

  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: International Reading Association; 1st edition (August 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872076792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872076792
And here are a few online resources as well:

Reading Books to Babies
Exploring Books With Babies
Baby's First Teacher
Enticing a Restless Reader
Reading to Babies, Toddlers, and Young Children: The Why? The What? And The How?
Reading to Your Baby
Reading and Language: About My Baby
Grow Up Reading--Babies
Babies, Books, and A Lesson in Happiness by Mem Fox

One other thing to note. You don't have to own books in order to surround yourself and your family with books. You don't have to own books in order to give the gift of reading. Public libraries are wonderful resources for all families. So you don't have to have lots and lots of money, you just have to make reading a priority by giving it your time and energy. Yes, it's easier to sit down at the end of the day and watch TV...but when you think of long-term, life-long benefits, books are the way to go!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

10 comments:

____Maggie 10:01 PM  

Wonderful list Becky! I see a few I didn't know about and will order for the college library. :D

Jen Robinson 10:09 PM  

Great stuff, Becky! I agree with you 100%.

Annette Laing 9:04 AM  

Great advice, Becky, and especially the bit about modeling reading for kids. Your post reminded me of the many reasons why I hate the Accelerated Reading (AR) program that's inflicted on kids: Reading becomes a way to accumulate points and win unhealthy fast food... Ugh.
I certainly support your plug for libraries, but I think that, whenever possible, parents should buy books. My eight-year-old son has a library of several hundred volumes (and I wear old jeans and t-shirts...Not a coincidence.) He loves his books, and returns to them again and again, especially the non-fiction.

Becky 9:56 AM  

Annette, I agree. Buying books is good. Very good. My point was for the economically challenged among us, that all hope is not lost if you can't afford to buy books. You can still give your child the benefits that come from reading good books. :)

My parents thought books were important. And they budgeted that in at all times. Not all the books were new of course. And not all were expensive. But they tried their best to get a good variety of books for my sister and I.

I think book clubs like Scholastic (and there may be others like it as well) can give good prices as well. Not every book is a gem of course. But for all ages of books Firefly up through Arrow or TAB, is it? they do offer some good choices each month. Often you can get Newbery winners and honor books for under $8 and that's in hardcover.

So there are some tricks of the trade that can help parents out.

Darla D 1:39 PM  

I love this post, Becky! I still treasure the feeling of the first time my older daughter found a book she loved so much that she went and curled up in a nook, completely ignoring us until she was finished. Yay! (It was a Babymouse book, btw.)

I love reading with my kids, and I hope it will be a long, long time before they get fed up with me and just want to read on their own. For now I entice them with books that they enjoy listening to but that are just a bit far enough above their reading level that they're content to let me do it. Heh heh.

Also - another good thing to encourage kids to love books is to bring them to library programs, storytimes and things like that. :-)

Darcie 4:01 PM  

I agree with you 100%!! I have had the opportunity to travel a lot and I got a good impression of what it would be like to be illiterate in Korea. Everything was in different characters and I couldn't tell if a shop was a barber or a butcher! I always appreciate my being able to read but boy did that hit home! I have been reading for a while to my 20 month old and she seems to have a love for reading!! Thanks for the book recomendations!

Jeane 8:06 PM  

I agree wholeheartedly. There is no greater gift, skill than being able to read. It opens so much knowledge. Wonderful list of titles and resources.

Annette Laing 4:25 AM  

Hi, Becky: Absolutely understood and agreed with! :-)
I should clarify (before I seem like an out-of-touch jerk) that too many middle-class parents who think nothing of spending fortune on athletics (I live in the South) who don't buy their kids books, while families for whom money is a real struggle often will fork over for books at school sales and other venues. In other words, money isn't always the issue.

gautami tripathy 6:51 AM  

I seldom gift anything other than books. To children, to adults, all...

And I even tell others to gift me books.

Great post, Becky!

Child Abuse

Terry 8:16 AM  

I know it's redundant ... but this is a great post! Sharing a book is so simple, but so powerful!

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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