Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Read-Aloud Handbook

Title: The Read-Aloud Handbook, 6th edition
Author: Jim Trelease
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 340
Date Finished: 3 November 2008
My Rating: 5 Stars

I really liked this book because it re-enforced many of my thoughts and feelings on reading to kids and early childhood education. Namely,
-Read to your children!! And let them see you reading for pleasure. My kids are read to multiple times a day and they see me spend a lot of time reading on my own. They both love books and can often be found sitting on the floor surrounded by books.-Have a print friendly home.
My kids love books because they have been surrounded by them since birth. When I say surrounded I mean it. There are books everywhere in our house. On the tables, under the tables, on the couches, under the couches, on beds, under beds, on the bookshelves and scattered all over the floor in front of the bookshelves. There are books everywhere!-The best preschool is reading to your kids. Every morning my 3 year old and I do preschool at home. There is a shelf of "school" books that he picks from and we read until he says he is done. No drilling, no exercises, just reading. Sometimes I will put together a little activity but most mornings it is just reading.
Trelease cited some great studies that show drilling and pushing kids to read too early is not helpful in the long run. By 3rd grade they are on the same level as kids who did not start learning to read until kindergarten. And often the ones who are drilled and pushed too early come to have negative feelings towards reading and school.
My son is showing signs of early reading and while I encourage him, I do not push him. He is setting the pace.
One noteworthy fact is that the nation with the best readers does not begin to formally teach reading until age 7.-There is way to much focus on standardized testing in the United States. (Don't even get me started on that topic!)
-Kids can listen to and comprehend much more than they can read. I am reading chapter books to my 3 year old. Trelease includes a great read-aloud treasury with titles and recommended age groups in the second half of the book.-Read-alouds and sustained silent reading go hand in hand. Once a child does start to read they need to read silently on their own.
I was sitting in my reading chair with a book recently when my son climbed up with one of his books and sat quietly turning pages while I read. Setting an early foundation, I hope.-Don't stop reading to your kids when they start to read. I plan to continue reading aloud with my kids for many, many years to come.

The book also contained many tips and suggestions for reluctant or struggling readers.
The book was a little repetitive at times but otherwise, an excellent book that I highly recommend every parent read.
The best thing you can do for your kids? Read to them.


Debbie said...

I have every edition of the "Read Alound Handbook" on my bookcase. His list of books change a bit in every edition. I was even lucky enough to listen to him speak about 15 years ago. Love him. Love the books. Love his ideas.
Very nice photos of your family. Keep on reading to them. Time passes so fast...and YES, I'm sounding just like my mother, but... it's true. And snuggling up and reading with your kids is such a happy place to be.

Chain Reader said...

This is high on my list of must-have parenting books. I've given it as a gift a couple of times at baby showers. We've also read a lot on his recommended list. We also read a lot from a collection of stories he put together--I think it was called Read This! The Gunny Wolf from it was a big one with my kids.

Brittanie said...


Tricia said...

This is one of my favorite baby shower gifts, just like Chain Reader. Great summary and great thoughts!

Stephanie said...

I have a copy of this, but haven't read it yet (I've glanced through it, though! I promise!). I've been reading out loud to my son ever since he was two days old and we brought him home from the hospital. He got picture books only until he was six months, and then he wanted to be out of my arms and on the floor. Never one to be put off easily, I grabbed a book and joined him on the floor. I've read him classic literature, along with kids' chapter books, ever since (and we still snuggle on the couch and read picture books together). We just finished A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (he liked it more than I did, lol) and A Christmas Carol (we're headed to the library to see the 1934 movie version tonight!).

Giving your child a love of reading is one of the best gifts you can possibly give them. I'm going to have to dig up my copy of this book and look through it for some more suggestions. :)

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I'm going to see if my library has this one. I like the idea of preschool at home, I keep meaning to do something like this. Perhaps in the new year I can get my act together.