Friday, February 26, 2021

 Take Action!

If a book sparks your child's interest--say, she is intrigued by something a character does--see if you can replicate the experience. Plant "magic" beans, dig a rabbit hole, set up a tent in the living room, visit a park to look at different kinds of leaves. Encourage your child's imagination to soar!

When you encourage your child to expand on that interest, it helps to strengthen the connection between books and her own life. Plus, you are demonstrating to your child that reading can open doors to new things to try.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Cook Those Books

With your child, design a meal that mimics what characters eat in a favorite book. Whether it is stone soup, green eggs and ham, or milk and cookies, have a real or pretend meal that involves your child helping you cook. 

By living out the pages of a book, you are helping to bring a story to life. Plus you are encouraging your child’s imagination. 

Let your child help you set the table and prepare the feast. Don’t worry too much about accuracy. Take a picture of your child enjoying the meal and keep it on your refrigerator. It will be a meal to remember!


Friday, June 5, 2020

Reading to Eradicate Racism

Yesterday my daughter asked me about books that I could recommend for my nearly four-year-old granddaughter that would be helpful for addressing racism. My response was that, for a very young child, the first thing to keep in mind is to offer books that normalize diversity.

Previous generations, including mine, had books that primarily featured White people— families, children, and friends. So that became the norm. Other people were just that ... other.

Thankfully, publishers, authors, educators have woken up to the need to populate children’s books with a range of characters. One significant effect is to help children who are members of minority groups to identify with the characters on the pages. Another effect is to “normalize” the presence of a range of people. When young children see the pages of their books populated with all kinds of people—Black, White, Brown, in a wheelchair, and so on—they internalize the notion that there is not one “type” of person that is the norm.

The following are some books that I am very familiar with because I have incorporated them into literacy programs that I have developed for Scholastic Inc.  These books are populated with diverse human characters.

All Kinds of Friends by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper
Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith
Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn
Ming Goes to School by Deirdre Sullivan
One Family by George Shannon
One Love by Cedelia Marley
One World, One Day, by Barbara Kerley
The Paper Crane by Molly Bang
Soup Day by Melissa Iwai
You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith

Monday, May 4, 2020

Challenging Times

Things have changed. Everyone is adapting to a new normal. Parents and educators are trying to figure out how to best keep children engaged, calm, and open to learning. There are no easy answers.

Parents who normally try to limit "screen  time" for their young children are struggling. As they juggle child care, work from home, and all the new and intense emotions that accompany a pandemic, this is a time to be flexible.

These are extreme times.

Choose the best options you can for your child. There are no easy answers. We are all in this together.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Read From the Beginning

Read to your infant. It is never too early to start reading aloud. Will your baby understand the story you read? Likely not. But what you are doing is far more important. You are introducing your child to a lifetime filled with the joy and love of reading.

Reading aloud, while snuggling with your baby, provides a time to be engaged in a special experience, one of closeness and togetherness. When you read aloud, you are slowing down from the busyness of life, focusing your energy, creating a loving bond, and opening the door for your child to the pleasures and treasures that books provide.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Read for Support

Targeted reading can help your preschooler deal with a new situation. For example, books about starting preschool can help you get your child prepared for that highly anticipated experience. Reading a book about a new baby can be a starting point for talking about how life will change when a sibling arrives.

Do an Internet search or ask a children’s librarian to help you find books that address a situation that might be impacting your child. Whether the book is fiction or nonfiction, use it to ask your child questions about how she is feeling about the upcoming situation. Likewise it may stimulate your child to ask questions of her own.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Letters, We Get Letters . . .

In this age of digital communication, isn't it kind of wonderful to receive a letter now and again–real mail? A piece that was intentionally written, stamped, and mailed to you is special. Don't let that  thought get away.

Even young children enjoy receiving a communication addressed specifically to them. So, think about writing to the young children you know, or asking people to write to your child. There is a thrill to getting a hand-addressed note; it says "I care."

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.