Thursday, October 21, 2010

Read 30 Minutes a Day

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Kaitlyn choosing a book
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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7 comments:

A Wee Irish Family said...

I love this, too! I'm a teacher (5th Grade) and I can always tell which kids are reading with parents, reading alone, or not reading at all at home. It's in their language, even at 10-11 years old. They have an easier time learning new things, making connections, and using their noggins for thinking creatively. They definitely have no trouble imagining different scenarios given different ideas of context. The children who read both with parents/family AND alone at home are definitely the most delightful of the bunch. And yes, they're my favorites! :)

Mollie Energy said...

Yeah again! I'm so glad you keep reviewing this. We have our 30 minute reading time in the morning and it's one of my favorite parts of our day.

Maryea said...

Thank you for this! I could not agree more with the importance of instilling a love of reading above all else. I keep hearing about this Read Aloud Handbook--I need to get it already!

Allie said...

My mother-in-law gave me this book, and I devoured it! I've read to my son since his very earliest days. Now he is 14 months old. Reading a story is part of his naptime and bedtime routine, and he snuggles and listens well then. But when he's awake and playing, he doesn't show much interest at all, even if there are hand gestures or other exciting elements in the book. Is this normal or should I work on getting him to pay more attention? This is linked to my concern that he has an incredibly short attention span - he usually plays with a toy for about 30 seconds to 1 minute before moving on to something else! He's my first baby, so I don't always know what to expect from him. Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

A Wee Irish Family, I can see it in the 3 year olds I am around too! They obviously aren't reading on their own yet, but the kids who are read to often definitely stand out.

Plowmanators said...

Yes Maryea! Get it! It is seriously a page turner.

Plowmanators said...

Allie,

It sounds normal. In fact, sitting still at any time of day probably isn't normal for a 14 month old, so since he does that during special reading times, I think that is good.

One thing to keep in mind is that boys don't like to sit still, so that is normal.

But as for toys, do you do independent play with him? Most babies who have IP will play with a toy for an extended period at that age. If not, I highly encourage you to do so. If so, I might bring it up with his pedi next time you are in, however, my guess is he would say that is normal for a child that age :)

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