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Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read Paperback – September 1, 2009
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"The book has a cheerful, chatty tone--each selection contains a story synopsis, questions about the characters and a list of related titles--and yet there is also something poignant here. In beseeching parents to make conversation with their children, and reminding them to "be patient" and "try listening", the author hints at an impoverishment in American homes that has come, perhaps, with all those TV hours logged by Nielsen."
-Wall Street Journal
"Education consultant Frankenstein believes that the right book in the right hands at the right time is only the first step on the journey to developing confident readers. Readers who can discuss the books they've read will go even further. Here, she presents an excellent system for achieving that goal. The bulk of the book is made up of 100-plus "Story Pages", which include both "Read Together" and "Read Alone" age ranges, story synopses, thematic keywordsk, sample discussion questions, and read-alikes. Teachers and librarians will go wild for this one. Be sure to have copies both for circulation and for reference."
"This great guide offers tips on instilling a genuine interest in reading, plus book-based conversation starters for tots to tweens."
-Scholastic Parent & Child
"Wonderful! Diane Frankenstein's book is a priceless gift to parents, teachers, and anyone who cares about children. Filled with wisdom, humor, helpful ideas--and most of all, the pure joy and passion for books--this volume is an absolute treasure. It is a great resource for everyone who loves children and books."
-T.A. Barron, author of The Lost Years of Merlin
"Diane Frankenstein has written an exceptional practical guide to exploring and expanding on children's literature that will help anyone who reads with children to extend the experience and help them make connections between their thoughts and what they read. Also, by enriching young readers' current experiences, it can also encourage them to become lifelong readers drawn to the enduring power of the written word to help them understand and articulate thoughts about life as they experience it."
-Marie Conti, Senior Director of School Accreditation and Member Programs, American Montessori Society
"In Reading Together, Frankenstein's enthusiasm for igniting children's love of reading is infectious. Her strategies are practical and actionable, and her book recommendations are a wonderful resource."
-Jeff Wetzler SVP, Teacher Preparation, Support, and Development, and Chief Learning Officer, Teach for America
"In Reading Together, Diane Frankenstein provides a delightful springboard for conversations between adults and children about literature. The author distills a lifetime of reading and teaching children's literature into an accessible guidebook that will be useful in the library and the classroom and, most important, at home. Original and imaginitive, the book is a wonderful resource for parents and educators who are interested in generating--and sustaining--a love of reading in young people."
-Coreen R. Hester, Head of School at The American School in London
"A must-have parenting tool! Diane's exceptional knowledge and experience in children's literature can finally be shared with the world. Parents and teachers from any culture will learn how to ignite a passion for reading in their children with this book. Offering over 100 quality book recommendations, complete with related questions, learn how to talk with children about books and the world we live in. Diane's reading tips and conversation starters can be used with an book, in any language!"
-Yolanda Yeh, Pro-Active Learning, Hong Kong
"The subtitle of this book, 'Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read', may sound audacious, but it's actually overly modest. Parents and educators who use this book will be raising children who love to learn. Diane Frankenstein teaches us that, through books, children learn language-oral and written-and through language, they learn to think. Importantly, she shows us that the most important outcome may not just be how many books children have read, but how many conversations they've had about them."
-Milton Chen, Ph.D., Executive Director, The George Lucas Educational Foundation, edutopia.org, Edutopia Magazine & Video
About the Author
Diane W. Frankenstein has been an Educational Consultant in children’s and adolescent literature since 1989. In addition to her work with over 150 different school communities, she has consulted for organizations such as the American Association of University Women, California Association of Independent Schools, Girl Scouts of America, Young Presidents Organizations (YPO), YMCA, United Nations Association, Parenteen: Parents Coalition of Bay Area High Schools and others.
Diane consults throughout the United States as well as in Asia and Europe. Since 1998 she has consulted in China, specifically Beijing and Hong Kong, where she conducted workshops for both the international and local school communities as well as for as with the Hong Kong Board of Education.
Diane was born in Los Angeles, CA and attended High School in Milwaukee, WI. She is married and has two grown sons and lives in San Francisco CA.
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Countless research has shown that parents have a tremendous impact on helping their children learn to read successfully. But how do we help our children become "good" readers? Reading Together explains that it is through reading for pleasure that children will read more, enjoy reading and become better readers. The first step for parents is to help your child find books that they enjoy and can read successfully - a book that is at their reading level and one that engages them.
Reading Together suggests over 100 different books that work with children - that are fun to read, interesting, engaging. But Frankenstein goes further. She provides questions, ideas, things to think about, to help parents engage their children with reading.
"Children need the adults in their lives to show them how to better understand and make a story their own. We best support them in this endeavor by having conversations that engage children in the stories they read."
Parents are wonderful resources to help children find the right books. You know your child's interests, what they're curious about, what makes them laugh. You know your child's emotional maturity, what issues and conflicts they can handle. This book helps take what we know as parents, find books that will work with our children, and then helps us talk with our children about these stories. This is Reading Together's winning equation:
"Help children find an appropriate book
+ talk with them about the story
= children who connect with storeis and love the stories they read"
The heart of the book is Story Pages: 101 books to explore with your child. I love the selection of books - they range from classics like Bridge to Terabethia to wonderful new books like Scaredy Squirrel or A Bad Case of Stripes. She explores books I love, and books I hadn't heard of and now want to go find. Here's an example of a Story Page from Reading Together, looking at the story Hunter's Best Friend at School. I don't know this book, but it looks like a great book for my kindergartner - I've already put it on hold at the library!
For each book, Diane gives a brief summary, lists the ideas and subjects the book explores, and then shares questions to get a conversation started and help you look closer at the story, bringing it from the plot to the personal. It's a wonderful format, easy to browse but also easy to dig into. It will stay on my shelves for years to come.
I have had the pleasure of taking one of Diane Frankenstein's childrens' literature classes for parents for several years, and so have read many of the books and used the methods for talking about them that are outlined in this book. Without fail, the recommended books offer hope, inspiring characters, and compelling topics both close to home and highly exotic. How wonderful it is for kids to encounter some of the hard knocks of life first in books, and to read about and discuss courageous and creative characters working things out. Then, when those challenges inevitably happen to your kids (or to you), you have an example and a touchstone with which to begin the next conversation.
When you get the book, it is hard not to immediately dive into the book recommendations and discussion suggestions, but some of her wisest and most helpful counsel is to be found in the first section of the book, so don't miss out -- read it cover to cover. You and your children will be glad you did.
As for me, I would just choose books that are listed as Newberry Award winners/ Newberry Honor winners. That's an easy-to-find list and those books are so simple that you can screen the topics and read through them in a single afternoon in order to be able to talk with your child about said book. There are also Wikipedia synopses of nearly every single Newberry aware winner.
There is a lot of thought that went into this book, but in the end, it's just not worth buying. (Even if the book only cost $0.01, there is still $3.99 worth of shipping)
Verdict: Worth the time. Not worth the money.
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