I think I know a book is a really good one when I am giddy about writing about it.
Reading is a hot topic in the United States right now. In The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease gives a basic practice to do daily to turn your children into readers.
Read to them each day for 30 minutes.
Simple as can be. Convenient? Not usually, but simple.
And this is most likely not new to you. I know in my state that there are ads on television and banners on school declaring that we should "read to our children 20 minutes a day." I like 30 better.
This school year, we have been asked to track and turn in reading minutes from each day. When I started tracking how many minutes we read a day, I was shocked. It is way more than 30. So start by tracking what you read each day; you might be surprised to find you read that amount already. If not, work up to it. I challenge this to be your first goal in creating children who love to read.
"The best SAT preparation course in the world is to read to your children in bed when they're little. Eventually, if it is a wonderful experience for them, they'll start to read themselves" (page xii, quoting Tom Parker).
Trelease discusses the tutors we hire and No Child Left Behind. Do you know what admissions people at our nation's top universities are saying about these children?
"We're training our children to be the most anxious, stressed-out, sleep-deprived, judged and tested, poorly nourished generation in history" (Merilee Jones of MIT).
Today's students..."seemed like dazed survivors of some bewildering lifelong bootcamp" In our pursuit of higher and higher scores, "the fabric of family life has just been destroyed" (from Harvard).
The Read-Aloud Handbook "is not about teaching children how to read; it's about teaching a child to want to read" (xviii). It helps you to teach your children to love reading. I have said it over and over on this blog, but the ability to and love of reading brings you so much power. If you can read and can understand what you read, your opportunities are limitless. So stay tuned for more on this book. Better yet, buy a copy for yourself. I am confident I can nowhere match Trelease's ability to discuss this topic. Reader Jennifer commented to me that she bought the book and couldn't put it down! It is such a fabulous book and I can't recommend it enough.
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