Monday, May 19, 2008

Reading with Claire and Earle

A customer shared this great picture of her grand- daughter reading. Claire has a twin sister, and both girls enjoy books.
Our friend, Earle, is on the right, stretched out our floor, looking settled in for the afternoon.
Summer is the perfect time to introduce kids to leisure reading. The Manitowoc Public Library has a program jam packed with book related activities. Area school districts also give kids the opportunity to explore books in many imaginative and carefree ways during summer.
While it may be encouraging to see your kids growing independent and reading for prolonged periods on their own, Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook offers a list of reasons to never abandon reading with with your kids.
Research compiled by Trelease established that sharing books:
  • Conditions child to associate reading with pleasure
  • Contributes background knowledge on a variety of subject matters
  • Provides child with a reading role model
  • Creates empathy
  • Increases vocabulary, improves writing skills
  • Improves probability of staying in school
  • Improves problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Offers laughter and entertainment
  • Improves attention span
  • Stimulates the imagination
  • Nurtures emotional development and improves self-esteem

There you have it. I know husbands and wives that read to each other daily over breakfast. What a nice tradition. We have many book groups in Manitowoc, and each has a unique way of operating. One of the groups that has been together for many, many years has a fascinating format. Books are selected, and one book is assigned to each member. She then edits the book down to a 1 1/2 hour reading. At their meeting, the reader does just that...she reads. Everyone else listens. Unless we tune in to "Chapter-A-Day" on public radio, or play book CD's as we drive I bet most of us haven't been read to since grade school. What a wonderful gift that group unwraps each month...90 minutes of being read to. No distractions, no pressures, no expectations...just the joy of closing one's eyes, and being transported somewhere unexpected.

What am I reading? Besides a bunch of catalogues prematurely announcing Christmas must-haves for the store, I am reading a Midwest Comnnections title, River of Heaven, by Lee Martin. Martin's book, The Bright Forever, was a Pulitzer finalist. I am also puttering with the exercises in Caffeine for the Creative Mind... and next up, Swine Not? by Jimmy Buffett. I can't think of a better deck book than that!