Friday, October 2, 2009

Reading Together - a wonderful resource for parents (ages 4 - 12)

As parents, we want to help our children become successful readers, but the question is how can we best help our children? Diane Frankenstein has just published a wonderful resource to help parents do just this: raise a child who loves to read.
Reading Together:
Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

by Diane W. Frankenstein
NY: Perigree Trade, 2009.
for parents of children ages 4 - 14
Countless research has shown that parents have a tremendous impact on helping their children learn to read successfully.  But how do we help our children become "good" readers?  Reading Together explains that it is through reading for pleasure that children will read more, enjoy reading and become better readers. The first step for parents is to help your child find books that they enjoy and can read successfully - a book that is at their reading level and one that engages them.

Reading Together suggests over 100 different books that work with children - that are fun to read, interesting, engaging.  But Frankenstein goes further.  She provides questions, ideas, things to think about, to help parents engage their children with reading.
Children need the adults in their lives to show them how to better understand and make a story their own.  We best support them in this endeavor by having conversations that engage children in the stories they read.
Parents are wonderful resources to help children find the right books.  You know your child's interests, what they're curious about, what makes them laugh.  You know your child's emotional maturity, what issues and conflicts they can handle.   This book helps take what we know as parents, find books that will work with our children, and then helps us talk with our children about these stories. This is Reading Together's winning equation:
Help children find an appropriate book
+ talk with them about the story
= children who connect with storeis and love the stories they read
The heart of the book is Story Pages: 101 books to explore with your child.  I love the selection of books - they range from classics like Bridge to Terabethia to wonderful new books like Scaredy Squirrel or A Bad Case of Stripes.  She explores books I love, and books I hadn't heard of and now want to go find.  Here's an example of a Story Page from Reading Together, looking at the story Hunter's Best Friend at School.  I don't know this book, but it looks like a great book for my kindergartner - I've already put it on hold at the library!

For each book, Diane gives a brief summary, lists the ideas and subjects the book explores, and then shares questions to get a conversation started and help you look closer at the story, bringing it from the plot to the personal.  It's a wonderful format, easy to browse but also easy to dig into.  It will stay on my shelves for years to come.

I bought my copy through Amazon, and it's available at local bookstores as well.  I've known Diane for the past four years, as I've taken her workshops and classes on children's literature.  This book is the fruition of years of teaching and helping children love reading.

If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review.

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