Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reading Aloud: What are YOU reading?

Reading aloud to your children is of utmost importance. It's the beginning of a meaningful relationship with your child that is just waiting to be nurtured. No matter if they are an infant or a middle grade reader, all children need to be read "TO." It's the "T" in our "Read TWO Experience" at Grow Up With Books.

Patricia Polacco is the author of close to 50 children's books. In a recent response to a fan's question on Facebook, she captured the essence of reading and why we read aloud to children. "It is said that a child's entire psyche and outlook on life in general is pretty much determined before the age of 5. So it is vital for a child to hear written language, to see pictures that accentuate the writing and to hear stories that have moral impact. I don't think there is anything more meaningful than a child sitting on the lap of someone they care about and being read from a book they are both holding."

Polacco goes on to say, "When I was a child, my ear would go on the breastplate of the person holding me and their voice and the story resonated throughout my body and was a moment of amazing bonding. So that, I believe, is the value between the individual and the child to read together, to imagine together, to dream and wonder together."

Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, offers helpful hints to parents on his website with thoughts that match Polacco's as well as ours at GUWB. In his brochure, Questions Parents Always Ask About Reading Aloud, Trelease says," You read to children for all the same reasons you talk to them: to inform, to inspire, to caution, to entertain, and to connect." When talking about reading to his children all the way to high school he goes on to say, "It provided me nightly one-on-one time with each of them, time that was spent in a meaningful way that often became a springboard to conversation and created a cultural and emotional bond." Jim Trelease also states, "We can find the time for whatever we value."

So, here is our challenge for you this week. Take a look at your calendars. What do you value? What do you make time for? Is there time for reading? Go ahead...write it in pen and commit to it! Do it for yourself as much as for your child.

Suggestions from our collection....
0-2 Year Old
Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book by Rufus Butler Seder
The new technology of Scanimation brings animals to life in this cool new book! As you turn the pages it seems as though the animals could jump, fly, take right off the pages! Fun for all ages!

3-4 Year Old
Mercy Watson to the Rescue (#1) by Kate DiCamillo
The first in the Mercy Watson series, readers will get to know this cute and sweet pig, as well as her owners, their neighbors, and the local fire department! Mercy saves the day, but how? Your child will delight in the fun adventures of this “pet of a pig” that likes to eat “hot buttered toast!”

5-8 Year Old
Piper Reed Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt
Piper Reed learns that the Navy is sending her father (Chief) to Pensacola, Florida and they must leave San Diego in the middle of the school year! She has to leave her Gypsy Club, her own bedroom, and the neighbors’ dog, Kip. Will Piper be able to face all of the challenges of moving? With her spunk and creativity, Piper is able to conquer most anything—even finding a real gypsy to tell fortunes.

9-12 Year Old
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians-Book 1) by Rick Riordan
Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school yet again even though it’s for trying to help his friend, Grover. Crazy things are happening…his math teacher turned into a monster while on a field trip and a Minotaur is chasing Percy, Grover (a satyr), and his mother as they are trying to leave town. This chase ends with Percy and Grover safely arriving at Camp Half-Blood where Percy discovers he is a demigod surrounded by mythical creatures in the 21st century. While at camp, Percy (being intelligent and resourceful) is chosen for the quest of finding out who stole Zeus’s lightning bolt. Accepting this challenge brings about non-stop adventure as well as disaster to Percy and his friends from Camp Half-Blood. This book is a great introduction to Greek Mythology and is the first book in a series of five. Just a Heads Up: Mild Violence, Mature Content.

We'd LOVE to hear what you and your family are reading! Share some of your favorites with us.

Happy Reading!
The GUWB Team


  1. The Immortal series by Alyson NOel. Just finished Devils Kiss!

  2. I need to brush up on my YA titles for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for mentioning Piper Reed Navy Brat. I've enjoyed writing Piper's stories because it means I get to look back at the things I treasure about my military childhood.

    Even before I was a writer I tried to make books a part of my daughter's life. I read to her early on and when she got old enough to read, I still read to her. One of my fondest memories is reading Zel together. I read the mother's chapters and she read Zel and the prince's chapters. Later my husband said, "I would have read the prince." So make it a family affair!

    She's twenty-two and we still read aloud together. Only now it tends to be our manuscripts.

    Read on,

    Kimberly Willis Holt

  4. Thank you for your thoughts, Kimberly! How exciting that you all still read and share together with your daughter. Having those times together probably makes your relationship even stronger. Too bad your husband didn't speak up sooner! Since mine are still young, we'll see about making ours truly a "family affair." And yes...we WILL read on!