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What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read with Your Child--and All the Best Times to Read Them Paperback – April 2, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
This volume by Allyn, director of the literacy organization LitLife, reminds parents that through reading aloud they can teach the beauty of language and joys of rhythm and rhyme and introduce their offspring to the Big Wide World. Part one of this book—a combination of Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook and Anita Silvey's 100 Best Books for Children—offers 10 reasons why parents should read to their kids: to develop shared values, to fall in love with language, to build comprehension, among them. Useful, too, are Allyn's Four Keys, revealed in an apt mnemonic, READ: a Ritual of coming together in an Environment conducive to reading with Access to the right book at the right time for a Dialogue. Chapter Four's 14 landmark books, from Pat the Bunny to Harry Potter (with Margaret Wise Brown, Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak titles included) will resonate with parents, but the best feature may be a brief section called How to Read Aloud, which teaches parents exactly how and why to read to children in order to elicit interest, engagement and response. The bulk of the book is Part three, all the best books for the moments that matter most, an alphabetical listing of 50 themes, from adoption to New Baby to Your Imagination. (Apr.)
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Targeted principally at parents, Allyn’s earnestly utilitarian guide to read-aloud books for children promises to “help you find the perfect books for the perfect times.” To that end, she offers a potpourri of self-help tools including a “reader’s ladder” of titles for children from birth to age 10, 50 thematic lists of “all the best books for the moments that matter most,” 10 reasons for reading to kids, and four keys for helping children become lifelong readers. All of this material has its uses, but its presentation is often either cloying (especially when the author invokes her own family) or a bit too rah-rah for some readers. Her knowledge of the history of children’s literature is occasionally a bit spotty (she praises Margaret Wise Brown without ever acknowledging the influence of Lucy Sprague Mitchell), and is Stuart Little really suitable for reading to a six-year-old? Nevertheless, the author is at her best when she is discussing the inarguable—almost ineffable—importance of reading to and sharing books with kids. And here her enthusiasm and genuine passion are infectious. One hopes her spirit is catching. --Michael Cart
Top customer reviews
On top of it all, it was an entertaining and inspiring read! I found myself falling back in love with reading books I hadn't even thought about for years. It made me so excited to share all of the wonderful things about books with our daughter! The author's command of and passion for her subject jumps right off the pages. I enjoyed it thoroughly and will reference it often as my daughter grows up.
That is where What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read with Your Child ~ and All the Best Time to Read Them by Pam Allyn comes in handy. Pam Allyn is the the founder and executive director of LitLife, an internationally recognized organization that trains hundreds of K~12 teachers each year. She is also the founding director of Books for Boys, an award~winning mentoring and reading initiative at The Children's Village. Allyn is also the recipient of a Points of Light/Disney award and two James Patterson PageTurner Awards for excellence in bringing literacy to underserved populations. In other words, a librarian's dream...
The idea behind the book is the belief that reading aloud to your children is important in the development of happy, healthy, well~rounded children. And while most read~aloud book guides are geared towards children from birth until roughly 5 years of age, this book also offers book suggestions for children up to the age of 10. Yes, it is just as important to read to older children as it is to younger children.
The book begins by explaining why parents should read aloud to their children ~ think bonding, developing an interest in reading and expanding your child's imagination. The next part provides an annotated list of what to read to your child at every age and ends with a reading guide for books by theme, such as adoption, courage, death, loneliness and spirituality.
I like that each section is prefaced by a memory of Allyn's interactions with her own family members or children she has come in contact with during the course of her work. These little vignettes make the book approachable and help the parents to understand why a certain book was chosen or the discussions that can develop from the readings of various books.
One of my favorite book choices is in the section dedicated to books about heroes because gasp a librarian is included in the mix of civil rights leaders, Native American activists and suffragists. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq by Jeanette Winter tells the story of Alia Muhammed Baker, a librarian in Basra, Iraq who struggled to save her library's books before the war. According to Allyn, read this story to provide "a new perspective on the war in the Middle East, and to show the incredible capacity of books to inspire heroism." Wow.
This book is a definite must for any parent or adult looking to find age appropriate books to read to their children on a plethora of topics.
If you have a child/grandchild/student under 10 years old and like lists, recommendations, and literary "why's" you will love this book!
I really like the thought-provoking annotations that the author has written to accompany the recommended books. Many annotations include a "Talk About It" segment that include discussion questions and comments.
Ms. Allyn uses the acronym R(Ritual), E(Environment), A(Access) and D(Dialogue)to define four keys to helping your child become a lifelong reader. This article should be must-reading for every parent.
I checked-out this book from the public library but I plan on ordering a copy to keep as a reference book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in children and reading. It will be a wonderful companion to your "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease.
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