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Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful, Motivated Readers 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199843930
ISBN-10: 0199843937
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Editorial Reviews

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"Book Smart is a big, generous treasure trove of information and instruction for parents. Zibulsky and Cunningham are passionate about the life of the mind and about how reading out loud to our children enriches their cognitive development and education, our families, and the entire community. Written in a clear, vivid style, the book is a perfect blend of practical advice and the theoretical and experimental reasons behind it."
-- Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Tinkers


"This isn't a book that you'll read once and then put on a shelf. You'll pick it up and use it at every age and stage your child experiences on the path to reading success."
-- Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic Inc.


"Book Smart, by top scholars, offers a reliable and up-to-date summary of what helps children become better readers. The emphasis on the spoken word - on reading aloud to children and on direct spoken interchanges between children and caregivers (unusual in a book on reading) is well established in research, is enormously important, and is especially welcome. Congratulations!"
-- E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Education and Humanities, University of Virginia; Author of The Knowledge Deficit and Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know


"[Book Smart] is a wonderful resource, a book that I read from cover-to-cover. Parents will find the most comprehensive information about reading to date and the crucial skills that are essential for its development. But what distinguishes this book among all the others is that while these authors are pre-eminent in the field of reading, they write with an eye carefully calibrated to their audience... These authors have masterfully unlocked the black box of learning to read in a way that never loses the passion and sheer intelligence they bring to their subject. It is a joy to read and will become a well-worn guide for parents and students of reading."
--Susan B. Neuman, Professor and Chair, Teaching and Learning Department, NYU; Co-Editor, Reading Research Quarterly; former Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education


"Written in parent-speak, Book Smart morphs the latest findings on reading development into fun activities and advice. Thank you Cunningham and Zibulsky for giving parents the toolkit that will help them raise literate, book-happy kids who learn to savor words and to inhabit new worlds through the printed page. Bravo!"
--Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Professor of Psychology, Temple University


About the Author


Anne E. Cunningham is Professor of Cognition and Development at University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Education.

Jamie Zibulsky is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199843937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199843930
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.5 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I found this to be an enormously helpful and really interesting book! I devoured it! Book Smart provides so many literacy activities that parents can do with their kids. The activities are not only supported by many scientific studies, but also very easy to implement. Most importantly, children will really love the suggested activities. After reading Book Smart and all the helpful tips and suggestions, I think parents will feel very comfortable helping their children learn to read and get ready for school. I think teachers will really find this book helpful and interesting, too.

One unique thing about this book is that it explained the general principles for supporting children's early literacy and language development in language that makes sense, making it easy for parents and teachers to pick and modify literacy activities for their children based on the research-supported principles. What I found particularly helpful about this part of the book was that these activities can be tailored to children’s individual needs and will effectively promote their literacy development (like building vocabulary, learning letter names and sounds, decoding and comprehending complex text, but also learning to love reading).

The wonderful resources that Book Smart provided are not only for English as native speakers, but also for English as Second or Foreign Language speakers. ELL teachers or parents will find this book to be an abundant resource in fostering their children’s English learning. It's a book I know I'll come back to time and time again. Book Smart provides many cognitive tools and literacy activities that are essential for beginning English learners but usually ignored by ELL teachers and parents in/from Chinese-speaking countries. Book Smart is a productive toolbox for them to successfully support children learning to read.
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What appeals to me about Book Smart is the way that the reading process is supported by the authors from babyhood through age 8.
The book contains lots of practical activities and methods of incorporating the love of reading into everyday life. This is a book to keep on a handy bookshelf in your child's room and pick up as often as possible. Kudos to the authors!
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From the point of view of a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), I think SLPs will benefit greatly from reading this book, especially those who work in schools. This book is a great source for SLPs to share with the parents and teachers with whom they work, on how oral language is highly related to reading acquisition. Moreover, I think SLPs will find great ideas to implement in their practice when targeting language and literacy goals.
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There are many books out there on reading development and on helping your child love reading. I have read most of them, so I know! This book is the first of its kind to bridge these important topics. It translates the research in a practical way and includes numerous examples to support us parents as we help our children in delving into the wonderful world of literature. The book provides important insights into the developmental nature and acquisition of a variety of literacy skills. And, most importantly, it incorporates the ways in which motivational and other social-emotional factors should be considered to maximize kids' engagement with books. My three-year-old and infant will benefit tremendously from my reading of this book. I will be referencing it throughout their school careers and lives! My kids are going to be so far ahead of the curve in terms of literacy development and most importantly, their love of reading!
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The suggestions provided in this book are abundant, easily implemented, and well-supported. The authors are well-versed in (and have contributed to) the research on reading, and they make their expertise very accessible to parents. Chapters are broken down by language skill, and each chapter includes tables of resources and activities that parents can use for YEARS as their children learn to process language, speak, read, comprehend, and even write. Though many parents think of reading as a skill that starts in in or just before school age, this book makes it clear that fundamental skills are being developed much earlier. It's never too early to start!

One of my favorite things about the book is that it identifies opportunities for learning and growth in everyday experiences from car rides to bedtime to trips to the zoo, and it makes reading (and talking and listening) a fun and meaningful part of the parent-child relationship.
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This gem of a book is packed with practical advice on how to foster both reading skills in children and the lifelong love of reading. The authors have succeeded in writing a book that is a great read. The chapters start with oral language and what parents can do with their infants and toddlers that will lead to later reading comprehension ability in the early school years. The authors describe a variety of fascinating connections and back them up with a host of scientific research in the references. Each chapter after that follows the child’s development as they learn to read, and discusses the major literacy milestones and activities that parents can do at each stage.

I really liked how the authors’ emphasis both head and heart. The last chapter on social emotional development did a great job tying everything together. The authors describe the powerful role that reading with your child can have in bringing about a shared level of closeness and warmth, and in fostering the child’s social emotional development.
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Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful, Motivated Readers
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