Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Celebrate "Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day!"

Saturday, December 6 is "Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day." It is the fifth anniversary of this special day. Five years ago 80 stores were part of the event. This year, more than 700 bookstores are observing the day.

Bookstores hold a special place in the lives of our communities and families. So many of us learned to love stories or discovered new authors in bookstores. Knowledgable vendors helped us to find just the right book for just the right time. And while the means for obtaining our reading material has been changing, bookstores are still an important venue for all of us. They are places to engage others in conversation about books and reading.

So expose your young child to the treasures that await in a bookstore. Large or small, bookstores need to be supported. So join in this celebration!

Read all about it:

Monday, November 24, 2014

If the Book (Doesn't) Fit . . .

Sometimes text is way too long to hold your child’s interest. Or a book just doesn't grab your child.

You are the best judge of your child’s waning attention. Use your judgment. If you sense your child is losing interest, and you think the book has enough to merit to continue reading, you have some choices. 

You can tell rather than read the tale. 
You can skip some description. 
You can summarize a bit.
You can let your child narrate.

See where the pages take you . . . or just put the book down and find a better book for your child!  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kansas Libraries Rock!

Here is why I love libraries.

The State Library of Kansas is holding its 10th annual Kansas Reads to Preschoolers event. Approximately 5,000 copies of the book, Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas will be read aloud to preschoolers throughout the state this week.

The Library is committed to literacy and learning. The goal is that every child from birth to age five is read to this week. In addition to the 5,000 print copies, the book is available in Braille and audio.

How is wonderful that?

Read all about it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Get Your Festive On

Before the holidays—whether it is Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa—pick up some books about the upcoming event. Read about the holiday with your preschooler. Many libraries and bookstores have special displays so it is easy to find books about the holidays.

Of course, it is fun to build anticipation about upcoming holidays. In addition, your child will learn to appreciate the meaning of special days and maybe even understand the reasons behind the celebration. 

 Reading about how families celebrate holidays also gives you a chance to compare your family traditions with those of others. It can also be fun to learn about totally different holidays —ones you usually don’t celebrate. 

Find out about holidays that are observed around the world and in your town, and open your child’s eyes to other cultures and traditions. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Create a Parallel Universe

Find books that relate to what is going on in your daily life. This can be on an immediate, here-and-now basis. For example, if you and your child are waiting at doctor’s office or going to the vet, bring along a book that is on the topic. As you are waiting, you can compare your real-time experience with what is going on in the book. This activity can make a long waiting time so much more pleasant!

You can also do this on a longer-term basis. Say a tall building is going up next door to you. Read together about how skyscrapers are built. Your preschooler may be especially interested in its progress if she can compare it to what she has read about.

Reading about experiences that are similar to those in real time provides a perfect opportunity for your preschooler to identify with what she reads. It can make an everyday experience more meaningful. The flip side is it also makes the book more interesting because it relates to her world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

From Wherever, With Love

If you are taking a trip for business or pleasure and are in the habit of bringing back a souvenir for your child, here is a thought: 

Bypass the toy. 
Skip the t-shirt.

Choose a book instead. 

It can be a book that is representative of your destination. (You can even cheat and buy the book ahead of time and stash it at home.) Then, as you read the book with your child and point out places you visited, she can picture you there.

If you do a travel a lot, this is a terrific way to build a library. (And if your travel takes you to far-flung shores, the resulting collection might even be exotic.)  

However, the big takeaway here is that you are sending a message . . .  you were thinking about your child, missing and loving her, and you chose a book as a token of your affection. 

Making it a book sends the message that books are a valued gift and a sign of your love. You are strengthening that connection between loving and reading when you choose a book.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Visit School to Read Aloud

Visiting the classroom is a good way to keep an open connection between school and home. If it is okay with your child’s preschool, ask if you can visit the classroom to read your child’s favorite books with the class. 

A visit provides a good chance for your child’s teachers and classmates to get to know your child a little better. You will also get a sense of your child’s day and what the school environment is like. It is a terrific way to get to know some of the classmates she may be talking about at home. And she will like to show you off to her school friends and maybe even show off some of her reading prowess.

First, be sure your child if she is OK with this plan. And ask her which book she wants to share with the class. Then, schedule the visit. If she is hesitant, wait a month or two and ask again. 

What I think . . .

There are all kinds of readers. Some—like my daughter and me—are never without a book to read for pleasure. Others—like my son—are careful, analytical, and curious readers who read primarily to seek information from the page.

No matter what kind of reader your child becomes, you can help him or her get started. After all, you are your child’s first teacher. And, best of all, you can have some fun in the process.

Please feel free to share your own ideas. Tell me about ways you've enjoyed reading with your child.

Madeline Boskey, Ph.D.