Every child begins school wanting to learn to read, but by 12th grade only 19 percent read anything for pleasure daily. What changes along the way? How do we help our children develop a life-long love of reading and why is that important? All these questions and more are answered in The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. It is a must-read for all parents!
“What we learn in childhood is carved in stone. What we learn as adults is carved in ice.”
– David Kherdian, poet
Key take-aways from the book:
-Reading aloud beginning as early as the last six weeks of pregnancy (pg. 24) has shown great benefits to children. “The single most important activity for building…eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” (pg. 4)
-You can help your child become a better reader in the following ways (pg 37):
- Giving them a library card and going to the library frequently
- Ownership of books – a book that is all theirs and they don’t have to share with siblings (clear connection between owning books and reading achievement)
- Book baskets placed where it will most often be used, such as bathroom and kitchen table…scatter books throughout the house and not just in one spot
- Buy a bed lamp for your child and give the child an option of staying up 15 minutes later to read using their lamp
-Children can listen at a higher reading level than they can actually read themselves until about 8th grade (pg. 39). This is why it is so important to not stop reading aloud to your children once they can read themselves. You are not only creating a bond with your child but introducing them to new vocabulary words.
-Put the closed captioning on your tv, so your kids will read as they are watching a show
Best books for infants: Colorful pictures and exciting sounds, such as rhyming books like Mother Goose
Best books for toddlers: Picture books – point out the items shown in the book and state their name
Preschoolers: Make sure to pick a preschool program that includes read-alouds. Preschoolers continue to enjoy picture books and you can also introduce chapter books.
-Don’t stop reading picture books to kids – even older kids enjoy them (pg. 63)
-SSR – Sustained Silent Reading is important for kids to do. Reading is a skill and the more you use it the better you get at it (pg. 82). Let your child pick books that interest him or her, even if they are comic books. Encourage his reasoning, as he is on his way to becoming a great reader.
-Limit your child’s screen time (great story about this with Dr. Ben Carson on pg. 143)
-Father’s play an important role in helping children, especially boys, succeed in reading achievement. It is important for dads to be involved in reading to their children and let their children see them read for pleasure (pg. 157).
The last 100+ pages of the book are the “Treasury” section that outline great books for your child by age. It is an amazing reference! It includes wordless books, predictable books, reference books, picture books, short novels, full-length novels, poetry, anthologies, and fairy and folk tales.
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