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How to Get Your Child to Love Reading Paperback – June 6, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Codell (Educating Esme) has amassed an exuberant treasure trove for parents who want to help their children develop a love of reading. A strong believer in reading aloud, Codell gives an admiring nod to the work of Jim Trelease (The Read-Aloud Handbook), while presenting her own theory that interest (finding the right books for the child), integration (using reading as a springboard into other disciplines) and invention (when a child's unique ideas are inspired by the writing) can make the difference in how a youngster approaches reading. Codell, a teacher and librarian, resists grouping books by age level, explaining, "don't let somebody else's scoring system define your child, and don't let reading levels level your child's love of reading." Instead, she offers a simple method for determining whether a book is too difficult while pointing out that kids may listen on a much higher level than they read. The witty, comical "Madame Esme" (as she calls herself) offers scores of thematic book lists parents can use to inspire young readers, ranging from topics as diverse as medieval England to dinosaurs or hiccups. Covering a vast spectrum of subjects and authors, Codell casts a wide net as she builds a magical literary bridge between home and school. With appendixes of Caldecott and Newbery winners present and past, the book is akin to having one's own personal children's librarian at one's fingertips. Codell creates a contagious enthusiasm for the enormous value of children's literature, which will leave parents primed for their next trip to the library or bookstore.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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It took only an hour to peruse and learn how to navigate this magnificent reference book full of lists, ideas, encouragements, tips, actrivities, and so much more. It is now easy to locate the right books and activities for the children I teach.
Esme Codell is a delightfully "up" person, whose personality and joy of living fully is expressed in her writing. She tells how to share that joy of life, experienced through books and activities, with your child. To quote her, she believes there is "no reason you shouldn't be empowered to make learning happen for your child whenever you see fit." Through this book, she makes it easy. As a former story hour lady and librarian, a current teacher, parent, grandparent and author, my excitement level and desire to "dig in" and use more of her ideas is high.
Thematic learning is the ultimate way to capture children's interest. Codell offers multiple themes from science, history, fairy tales, party ideas, to traveling, and so much more -- all featuring a wealth of book choices. She knows her literature!
How to Get Your Child to Love Reading is a "must-have" book for every parent, grandparent and teacher, and a great compliment to the book I authored, "You Can Teach Someone to Read". It's one you'll never stop using, even when it gets dog-eared. You may, however, have to pass it down to your child to use when he becomes an parent.
The preceding excerpt illustrates the boundless creativity of author Esmé Raji Codell. On this first page she establishes the metaphor that recurs throughout _How to Get Your Child to Love Reading_: "Children's literature is our national potato." It is the seed that, through its many shoots, can help our children become caring, educated citizens.
Although the cover dubs _How to Get Your Child to Love Reading_ a "Parent's Guide," this book is a treasure trove for teachers, librarians, grandparents, anyone who cares about children and books. It provides "activities, ideas, and inspiration for exploring everything in the world through books." It is a valuable resource for nourishing juvenile readers, both the reluctant and the ravenous.
_How to Get Your Child to Love Reading_ includes over 3,000 titles recommended for children from birth through eighth grade. However, it doesn't stop with mere recommendations. As Esmé says, "This book is a recipe book for children's literature: how to serve it up so it's delicious and varied."
After a section on reading with "the littlest bambinos," _How to Get Your Child to Love Reading_ is organized by subject matter: social studies, math and science, story books, etc. Esmé subdivides the broad categories, however, so that book lists have very specific headings. She offers books for specific seasons, for special occasions (such as the arrival of a sibling or losing a tooth), for dealing with everyday problems (tattling or the hiccups).
Because the categories are so specific, many books are listed simply by title and author. That is sufficient. Sometimes Esmé adds just a word or two of description. For example, in the math section the note "place value" beside the title _The King's Commissioners_ is extremely elucidating. For some books Esmé provides sentence summaries. For others she provides more information, even excerpts. She provides just enough information to whet our appetites.
But _How to Get Your Child to Love Reading_ has so much more! Esmé's wisdom and revelry shine through on every page. Esmé includes dozens of articles, some on controversial subjects (for example, should reading be rewarded?). She has recurring features honoring "reading heroes" and addressing questions about various aspects of reading. She provides a list of benefits of reading aloud, a "Happy Childhood Checklist," a list of "Must-Reads by the Time You're Thirteen," six pages of story starters. She offers suggestions for integrating literature with life, often in celebration -- a parade of books, a storytelling festival, an unbirthday party. She recommends additional resources, many of them on the Internet.
Appendices and indices round out _How to Get Your Child to Love Reading_. The appendices include Newbery and Caldecott Award honorees as well as winners. Information about a specific book is easy to find since the books are triply indexed -- by title, author, and subject.
I am thrilled to have discovered Esmé Raji Codell. She is indeed an exuberant, eloquent young voice for promoting literacy through children's literature. _How to Get Your Child to Love Reading_ may well offer the best hope for stemming the current tide of illiteracy.