Monday, December 31, 2012

Two Happy New Year Resolutions

As 2012 draws to a close, many of us think about how we want to improve our lives in the coming year. Here are two related ideas for you to consider:

First, make one of your resolutions the promise to read more—whether books, e-readers, newspapers, magazines—for pleasure . . . for yourself. Fiction or nonfiction? It doesn’t matter. Rediscover for yourself how rewarding it is to spend time with the written word.

Second, make a commitment to read to your young child every day, even for a few minutes. Your renewed enthusiasm for reading will be contagious. It is a win-win situation.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Read and Share: Amazing Book List

The New York Public Library shared its amazing list of books to read and share. Here is the link:

How many do you still have to discover? Enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day!

Have you heard about Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day? It is today, December 1.

The idea, as explained by its founder, Jennifer Milchman, is to expose children to the possibilities  that bookstores hold. Milchman noticed how her own children were thrilled by the excitement of entering and exploring bookstores. She began to make it an official event. The movement has grown.

Today, with so many different options for reading, in order for bookstores to flourish it is important to expose new generations to the potential that lies within the shelves. Milchman's website shows the hundreds of bookstores across the country that are participating. Take some time today to take your children--or grandchildren--to a bookstore!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Simple Holiday Shopping

If you are pondering what kinds of gifts to buy for young children in your life, don’t overlook the obvious: books! No child can have too many books. And if people ask you what your own children need, tell them: books. As gifts, books are easy to wrap, inexpensive to ship, and can provide hours and hours of joy. 

Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.

-Oprah Winfrey

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's Book Friday

As you start your holiday shopping--or make lists and plans to shop--consider buying books for everyone on your list. Personal, thoughtful, portable, and relatively inexpensive, books are a perfect gift for young and old. Is your three-year old obsessed with dinosaurs? Feed that obsession! Is your mother-in-law an avid gardener or a marathon runner? There will be books to provide inspiration. Browse the shelves or the pages of your favorite online retailer. And maybe gift yourself while you are at it. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I am Reading Next

The next book on the very the top of my nightstand book stack is Book Love by Melissa Taylor.  It will be published next month, but is already available if you have a Kindle. Check out the link to Amazon at the bottom of this post. Here is a description of the book.

In Book Love: Help Your Child Grow from Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader award-winning educator and parent Melissa Taylor gives busy parents of kids ages three to ten engaging, playful, out-of-the box ideas for growing a reader, assisting kids who are learning to read, and gently encouraging reluctant readers. Just a few of the many helpful insights and strategies she shares include:
    The most common reasons why kids find it hard to learn to read or may hate to read (too boring, too tricky, too blurry, too “sitty”)—and what to do about them
    Activities and product recommendations to facilitate letter recognition, rhyming, sight word skills, phonics, and fluency
    Approaches for improving word attack and reading comprehension
    Book lists organized by kids’ interests
    Printable sight word flashcards and word strategy bookmarks

Packed with practical, bite-sized ideas that get children reading and loving books, Book Love can be your go-to guide for reading help for kids.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween Reading: Picture Books!

Here is one of my favorite book lists, and I offer it just in time for Halloween. If you are concerned about Halloween books being too scary for your preschooler, this list of picture books may be just what you need. The reviewer is a mom, and she has annotated each book so you can get a sense of whether it sounds right for your child. Here is the link:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Celebrate Early Literacy Awareness Week

One of my favorite literacy organizations, Read Out and Read, is celebrating its 4th annual Early Literacy Awareness Week. Held in conjunction with National Health Center Week, the week of August 5-12 is a time that Reach Out and Read makes a special effort to encourage families to foster a love of reading in young children and prepare them for success in school. During this week, Reach Out and Read works to raise public awareness about the importance of early exposure to books in order to prepare children to succeed in school and help them develop a lifelong love of reading.

Join in the celebration of Early Literacy Awareness Week, too:  Read to a child in your life!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Road Trip!

Is your family planning a getaway by car this summer? Are you dreading the hours of crankiness and complaints from your preschooler? Be sure to stop at the library for audio books that will keep your preschooler entertained. As she listens to her favorite stories, the miles will fly by—and getting to your destination will be a pleasure.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Celebrate Independence With Words!

Many families gather with friends or other relatives on the 4th of July. Your preschooler is likely to enjoy the get-togethers and traditions, which may include watching fireworks and grilling a meal. Holidays and other family times are important to him. Encourage him to talk about and describe what he experiences. Better yet, have him dictate his impressions while you record them and perhaps suggest that he draw  pictures of the festivities. Encourage him to recall the sounds, sights, and tastes—the boom, boom, boom of the fireworks, the bright and fleeting explosions of colors in the sky, the cold and creamy ice cream treat. You are helping your young child find the words to describe the exciting world he inhabits.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Read Aloud Through Daily Activities

Use every opportunity point out to your preschooler how often you read—and how much it is part of getting through your day. If you are in a supermarket, read aloud a product's name, the ingredients it contains, and even suggested recipe ideas. Show your preschooler the work you are doing from home —maybe pointing our your name on a memo. Cooking together? Show your preschooler the recipe you are following, reading aloud the ingredients and amounts. Show him the sports scores from last night’s game as you search on your screen or in the sports section of a newspaper. By reading aloud these pieces of information you are reinforcing the message that reading is the key to navigating the world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

L is for Library

If you haven't introduced your preschooler to your local library, this is a wonderful time to do that. Many libraries have special children's programs on the summer, including storytellers and activities planned around selected books. Some libraries are fortunate enough to have librarians who are dedicated to the children who visit--and are knowledgeable about children's literature. They can help  you and your child navigate the shelves for books that might be appealing. Many libraries have comfortable spaces made for reading and enjoying books in a relaxed fashion. And libraries are free. What an easy and inexpensive way to get out of the house and spend a pleasant morning or afternoon.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Read this Book!

Parents, here is a book that will rock your world--and that of your children.

Mike Lanza, father of there young boys, realized something was very different about children's lives today compared with the way he grew up.  He recalled unstructured play time--making up games and rules, building tree houses and forts, playing pick-up ball. Naturally, Lanza realized that things have changed. Today's parents are concerned about dangers of abduction; children are shuttled to organized activities, such as sports, dance, karate; homework is onerous. And of course, the screens of television, computers, and game players are enticing and addictive.

However, Mike Lanza wanted more for his children. He realized the value of unstructured  play in his own life and in children's development. Children need to engage in unstructured play to develop leadership skills, learn to negotiate with others, and experience physical and emotional freedom. So he took action. He figured out how to carve out the play space needed for his family and neighborhood. And in Playborhood:Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Place for Play, Mike Lanza tells what he did, and how he did it. In addition,  he offers a range of case studies from different settings--urban, rural, and suburban. Step by step, in his very readable style, he gives the information and inspiration parents need to create safe play spaces in their neighborhoods.

With Playborhood as your guide, you can provide your children and your neighborhood with an environment that will offer a safe place for unstructured play. That is truly a gift that all children deserve  . . . and need.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Read This Piece!

I want to share a link with you. This link will take you to a Q & A is written by Pam Allyn, Executive Director and founder of LitWorld. Pam talks about the reasons it is so important to read aloud to your child. From helping your child appreciate and enjoy language to building reading skills to simply enjoying the closeness of sharing a story, the reasons are clear. Please take a look. If you need that little push or reminder about why reading aloud is so important, here it is.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Your Turn!

It is time to turn the table. Have your preschooler tell the story. Pull out a familiar storybook. Instead of reading to your preschooler, try something different. Ask her to read to you. She might retell the story, echoing the words she has heard you read aloud in the past. You  might even recognize your own intonation or deliberate pauses, informal asides. Or she might tell a completely different story, embellishing the plot with her own imagination. No matter how she chooses to handle this situation, you are empowering her to be a storyteller. She is driving the narrative. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Take a Picture Walk

When you introduce a new story book try going through the book page by page with your preschooler, just looking at the pictures. Early childhood educators call this a picture walk, and it is something your preschooler will probably do in school. Ask him to tell you what he thinks is happening on each page. You are helping him develop important reading skills as he interprets the rich information that illustrations offer. Then go back and read the book. See how his ideas match up with the story that is actually told.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Feverish?

Feeling spring feverish these days? Shake up your reading routine. Take your preschooler outside to read. Find a bench, a tree, or a rock to sit on. Pull out the beach chairs. Enjoy a book and the changing season with your quickly-changing child.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Article to Read

I want to share an interesting article with you. It was written by Pam Allyn, the director of LitWorld. It resonated with me--and I think will resonate with anyone who has ever felt on the outside of things at some point. As always, Pam's writing speaks to the power of books and storytelling to capture the human experience.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Celebrate World Read Aloud Day

Celebrate the Power of Words and Stories and Take Action for Global Literacy with LitWorld
Worldwide at least 793 million people remain illiterate. Imagine a world where everyone can read... 

On March 7, 2012, LitWorld, a global literacy organization based in New York City, will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day. World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.
To learn more about LitWorld and to register to participate in World Read Aloud Day, please visit:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Books to Try

I recently came across a book that I want to tell you about, called Cows Can’t Jump. By David Reisman. This is a fun book to read aloud to young children because of the repetitive frames that continue though the book. That type of repetition engages children because of the predictable pattern that appeals to them. (Think of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle.)

What makes this book even more tempting is that it is filled with action verbs—not just jump and swim, but some surprises . . . like slither. The words are enticing and are sure to lead to some lively acting out while reading—always a plus.

Underlying the structure and words is a very positive message. The book shows children that not everyone (or every animal) can do exactly the same thing, but that everyone can do something that is special and unique. So there is a lot talk about here as well despite the seemingly simple format.

And there is even more good news. There is a sequel called Cows Can’t Quack.

Check out this website for some preview pages of the books and information on how to find them.

Friday, January 13, 2012

World Read Aloud Day

I am excited to be an ambassador for LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day on March 7. I have already planned to have a party for my local friends to celebrate in February. It s a book exchange in which we can share books we have read and my guest will go home with a "new" book to read. I am also eager to spread the word about the amazing organization, LitWorld.

On March 7, I will celebrate be reading to a class of preschoolers in my town.

Please copy and paste this link into your browser to learn more about LitWorld and the upcoming World Read Aloud Day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Walter Dean Myers was just appointed to be the national ambassador for young people’s literature. Myers grew up in Harlem, a high school dropout, and the son of an illiterate man. Today his gritty realistic fiction is popular among young readers.

I heard Myers interviewed this morning on NPR. He says that today reading is more important than at any time. With the decline of manufacturing jobs, reading and reading-related skills are a must. Reading is not optional. It is necessary.

One of the most striking things he spoke about was his belief that parents, grandparent, and caretakers need to read to children—from birth. My blog followers know how strongly I believe that.

Listen for yourself. Here is the link:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day

I wanted to let you know about an upcoming event that is sponsored by my favorite literacy organization.

LitWorld’s annual World Read Aloud Day is coming up on March 7. I am actively involved in spreading the word about this special event and will be telling you more about it over the next weeks,

“World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.” (from the LitWorld website)

Stay tuned!

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.