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Children's Literature @ NYPL

Booktalking "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease

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Reading brings pleasure to people, and we need to nurture kids' reading interests, regardless of whether or not the kids' preferences mirror our own. If reading always seems like a chore, and if kids are constantly drilled on reading what they are not interested in, they will avoid the printed word like the plague.

Parents, teachers, and librarians reading to kids about books that they are enthusiastic about can nurture the development of bibliophiles. Even reading series books has been shown to increase people's vocabularies, etc. People learn vocabulary by reading words multiple times in the context that they are used in the story. Television, not surprisingly, has a negative effect on reading scores. However, the release of films based on books increases readership of those books.

Surprisingly enough, most teachers do not read more books than other adults. It is hard to pass on a love of reading if the educators do not have much time for it. Mother-daughter, mother-son and other book clubs help kids socialize and learn from others. This book also describes stories of how communities coalesced together to provide books to those in need. Also included are specific reading tips for caregivers to use to hook kids on books for life!

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, 2006

High SAT scores have been linked to parents who read to their kids every day, even after they can read on their own. My own parents required me to take the SAT once per year starting in seventh grade; the practice definitely improved my score. There are inequities in gender role expectations for kids; reading is considered more appropriate for girls, and boys tend to play sports more often. This shortchanges boys of their chances to succeed in school and further their education. In addition, kids who take classes with teachers who read to them and are enthusiastic about reading tend to read more on their own. Even fetuses' heart rates increase when they hear stories repeatedly while they are in utero.

Parents can take advantage of moments when teens are bored and read to them from their own reading material. I know that my own parents always had interesting books, magazines and newspapers around the house. Terrific writers read prolifically. Kids pick up grammar from hearing and reading it, and kids understand at a higher level than they read at. However, some books are written in such a style that does not lend themselves to being easily read aloud (the plots may be convoluted, etc.) The book details how to determine whether a book is a good read-aloud choice.

The book is terrific for teachers, librarians and parents who want to learn how to read aloud to kids effectively in order to get kids enthusiastic about reading! This can help caregivers with baby, preschool, and school-age reading programs. I was very lucky that my parents recognized the utility of public libraries and encouraged me to read what I liked (including series books). While some of the books I read would not be considered great works of literature, I now completely appreciate how much knowledge there is in the world; luckily for us, some of the authors spell out their ideas in fascinating books! Even though I have been a librarian for years, I feel that I did not truly appreciate how valuable reading can be for people until I read this book. I experimented with reading aloud to older kids myself as a result of reading this book with George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl to ten-year-olds, and they responded with gales of laughter! They absolutely loved it. Jim Trelease sheds a lot of light on exactly how books improve people's lives.

Jim Trelease is a parent, and his insights are extraordinary. He and his partner made a rule that there was no TV after dinner on weeknights, and the kids objected at first, but then an interesting thing happened. The kids worked more on puzzles and games, and family members talked to each other more. Trelease recommends the following book: Storytelling: Art and Technique by Ellin Greene. Greene's book puts storytelling in a historical context, and I am greatly enjoying her book.

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