The famous Walt Disney wrote: “There is more treasure in books than in all the
pirates’ loot on Treasure Island . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day
of your life.” Educators need the involvement of parents to improve the quality of today’s troubled
public education system. Parents can become reading role models for their children.
The following advice will help your child become a reader:
First, recognize the value of a good book. Books have tremendous value to people of
all ages- consider the following observation from a distinguished author, S.I. Hayakawa:
“In a very real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people
who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can
read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.”
Charles W. Eliot, the former president of Harvard University observed:
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and
wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
Family members can sit in the living room and read a good book-it’s kind of hard to
do that with a computer. Reading books will improve your family conversations- it’s
awfully boring to hear about video games and MTV all the time.
Second, choose books that are appropriate for your child. Keep in mind the following
when selecting a book:
*Babies and Toddlers- choose books that have color pictures if simple objects, text and
good rhythms. They enjoy indestructible books- boardbooksand cloth books.
*Preschool and Kindergarten-they enjoy nursery stories, books with words repetition, and
toy-like books that move, pop up, and are full of surprises.
*Early school years- select books with strong story lines and a character development.
Choose books with words your child will understand. Third graders enjoy books that
deal with topics that are interesting to them and books that include some challenging
*Older children- search for books that fit their personal interests and personality traits.
Third, ask an expert for book advice. Our librarians spend hundreds of
hours reviewing books and would be glad to help you develop a list of great books.
If you are having difficulty locating a book for your child, visit http://www.askalibrarian.org. Other great
websites for books include:
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books/bestseller (lists of best selling books for youth)
http://www.alastore.ala.org (lists kid’s classics and teen favorites).
Fourth, read books with your child. According to Lucy Calkins, author of
RAISING LIFELONG LEARNERS, “Reading aloud and talking about books is part of
the education of the heart, and it is best done in families. And so we read aloud, then we
put books down to talk. We talk to identify with new heroes, to dream new lifelines, to
weave new stories into the fabric of ourselves. We talk bout books because we believe
in the education of the heart, but also because talking about books helps children read
more thoughtfully, to speak and write more fluently.”
Can you imagine the impact if parents worked with educators to develop a generation