Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Recommendation: The Read-Aloud Handbook

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Are you ready for some gushing?

I don't know that I could really express how much I like The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. In fact, the thought of trying to do so is so overwhelming to me I have a hard time trying to come up with words...writer's block!

First of all, this book was sent to me by a blog reader. Now, publishers and publicists have sent me books to review before (I always let you know if a book was sent to me for review; but a book being sent to me would not slant my opinion at all). Readers have suggested I read books before. But never before has a reader had such a love for a book did she send me the book herself. I think that kind of gives you an idea how great this book is.

Second of all, I love books and I highly value reading to children. It is so important to me, one of the first posts I ever wrote on this blog was on the value of reading. So a book about the importance and value of reading, full of references to various studies would of course be of great interest to me.

This is, without question, one of the best parenting books I have ever read. No doubt.

A very refreshing thing about this book is that Trelease is an actual writer, so the book is well-written. It is easy to read, and somehow Trelease manages to keep this informational book interesting enough that I kept coming back to it like it was a Dan Brown book. Okay, this might be in part to my extreme love for the subject, but I promise it is an easy and even interesting read.

This book is all about how to help children learn to love to read. Not how to teach them to read or how to teach them phonics...just how to teach them to love to read. Why love to read? I go through this in my much earlier post on the value of reading, but if you can read then there is no limit to what you can do. You never have to stop learning. Your knowledge and imagination can increase indefinitely. But in order to turn to books, you must love them.

Another importance on love of reading is that if you love to read, you will read. That will translate into becoming better at reading, and every subject in life requires reading.

So that is just a little bit of why. Trelease covers ages on when to do things, various strategies for teaching this love, some school topics, and technology vs. reading. And all of it is full of references and explanations of studies that back his recommendations.

And to top that off, he has a very large list of books he recommends for children in various ages along with a synopsis of many of them.

This isn't one of those books that you read and feel completely overwhelmed. It is very doable. And simple.

Every parent needs to read this book--and they need to do it as soon as they possibly can. Not only will it help you improve the lives of your children, it will inspire you to try to improve the lives of other children who do not have the support needed to learn to love to read.

I recommend this book with all of the energy I can muster. You will not regret this read!

I am cross-posting this with the Children's Learning Activities blog today. I will also be further reviewing this book on this blog and that one, depending on which blog it is more appropriate for.



Mollie Energy said...

I am so pleased you loved this book so much!! Thank you for your wonderful review! Mollie

D & H said...

I also really liked this book. And, it works. My mom read one of the earliest editions of this as a young mom and it was one of her favorite books. She used it. Myself and all my siblings grew up loving to read and all of us learned how to read well.

Plowmanators said...

Thank you Mollie for sending it to me! It is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received!

Plowmanators said...

D&H, that is so great to hear! Thanks for sharing that!

Jennifer said...

I finally got this book and just finished the introduction. I couldn't put it down! (Um, when's the last time that happened during the introduction of a book?) I'm hooked! Thanks for the recommendation.

Plowmanators said...

lol Jennifer! I know exactly what you mean! I was hooked from the beginning. That is hard to do even in a fiction book!

LaChelle said...

I read the intro online to this book. Seems to be a great book. It does mention that if I'm the mom flashing flashcards in front of my 18 month old, Sooner is not better. Guess that means I shouldn't be trying to teach my child words. I talk to him often...trying to reach those 3K words a day but we do have quiet time. He watches Word World on PBS & Mickey Mouse & Friends in the morning for about an hour & thats all the tv he watches unless in the car. Do you think I should just lay off & let him talk when he is ready? I don't want to be a slacker when it comes to mothering & teaching him but I don't want to be overeager & push him too soon. Your thoughts?

Plowmanators said...

I think just normal talking day to day is all you need. I don't think there is harm in you pointing to an object and empasising what it is. "Ball." I also don't think there is harm in you saying, "can you say Ball?"

Reading books to him will teach him words, as will talking as you do things around the house.

So I don't think flashcards are necessary. Real talking is what will teach him to talk.


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