Reading aloud

September 26, 2014

What’s the difference between participating and witnessing? And what does this have to do with books and children?

I had lunch with some longtime friends today and as we walked out together, my friend was telling me how she shared books with a group of children, the same group she had the opportunity to observe as they saw the same story read on a “smart board.”

When she read...

September 22, 2014

Nothing creates readers like a good book. And in my experience good books are often recommended to children by a trusted teacher or librarian.

But educators are busy people. A lot of teachers and school librarians I know have a hard time keeping up with what’s new and what’s good in books for children. Then there’s the entire matter of getting one’s hands on the books. Libraries...

September 5, 2014

If we followed the Ingalls’ journey according to the Little House series, after we left the Big Woods in Wisconsin, our next stop should be Independence, Kansas. Given that Independence is more than 600 miles from Pepin and Walnut Grove, Minnesota, is less than 200 miles, the banks of Plum Creek is where we headed next.

Our route took us through Mankato, Minnesota. Mankato is...

August 29, 2014

It's earlier than it's been in the past and the location has changed from the National Mall to the Washington Convention Center but once again, it's back. If past is prelude, then it will be just as much fun (with the benefit of indoor plumbing and air-conditioning against the dreaded DC humidity).

I'm talking about the National Book Festival, of course.

August 28, 2014

Remember Laura’s first trip to Pepin? In Little House in the Big Woods, Wilder writes, “Laura stood up on the board and Pa held her safe by the arm, so she could see the town. When she saw it, she could hardly breathe. She knew how Yankee Doodle felt, when he could not see the town because there were so many houses.”

It was dramatic for us too, but our drama was courtesy of...

August 19, 2014

More and more often filmmakers have been turning to children’s books for inspiration. Perhaps it’s a catchy book title that a filmmaker finds intriguing or maybe an idea they want to flesh out. Maybe they simply want to build on existing popularity.

Sometimes it works well. Many of us are wild about Harry, for example. I’m a Harry Potter fan in both the novel and film version, and...

August 13, 2014

When readers first meet Laura in Little House in the Big Woods, she’s a little girl living with her Pa, Ma, older sister Mary and baby sister Carrie. The real Laura Ingalls was born in a little house deep in the forests surrounding Pepin, Wisconsin, on February 7, 1867. Since Pepin is Laura’s birthplace and the setting of her first book, this village along the Mississippi River seemed...

August 1, 2014

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote one of the most beloved series in children's literature. Her "Little House" books, which recount her childhood during the late 1800s, have provided generations of readers with a look at what life was like for our pioneering ancestors.

If you've always wanted a closer look at the Big Woods, wondered what it would be like to play along the banks of Plum Creek...

June 24, 2014

It’s a cliché, I know, but it really does take a village to raise a child. And that village benefits all around from children who read.

Pediatricians have recognized the power of reading to young children from a very young age and are releasing a ...

April 24, 2014

April is almost over and with it ends National Poetry Month. What continues, however, is what Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate, said of poetry. It is "… language at its most distilled and most powerful."

Children respond to poetry from early on — and why not? Its sounds, cadence and music are immediate and appealing. Think of Mother Goose and other nursery rhymes. They've been shared...

February 24, 2014

Change is tough. Big things, little things, it’s just not easy for most of us. Nonetheless, change is inevitable. Some change we see immediately, some is more subtle. It’s easy to forget that societal norms are fluid, and that one person can effect great change if they are brave enough to stand up, stand out and work together.

And it took real bravery to change the sports world. Most...

February 12, 2014

Those of us on the east coast are bracing for (yet another!) winter storm that promises to close schools for several days and leave parents at home with wet gloves and bored kids! Here are a few suggestions for sprinkling some reading and writing in-between sled rides.

February 11, 2014

Even the youngest child communicates her needs and feelings. Just ask a parent. They understand the difference in their infant's cries; some say hurt, hungry, uncomfortable, and on occasion just plain angry. Let's face it; all children come with their own unique temperament and they learn to express how they're feeling one way or another. Children often learn how to express themselves by...

December 20, 2013

It's holiday gift giving time. I made my shopping easier this year as I decided just about everyone on my list will get lasting gifts — books, of course! What's baby or toddlerhood without Mother Goose rhymes? So the youngest children will receive one of my favorite, most accessible collections: My Very First Mother Goose (Candlewick) selected by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells...

December 19, 2013

This is our family’s fourth year for "a book on every bed," and it's one part of my shopping that I really look forward to! Three years ago, the Family Reading Partnership and Ask Amy...

September 27, 2013

That's essentially what I write in every card as I hand over a stack of board books to expectant mom friends: "Three a day keeps the reading specialist away." After a chuckle and a roll of the eyes, my Mom-to-be friends add our tried and true board book titles to the pile of baby gifts and toys. But I'm happy, knowing that those board books will be loved and chewed on for years to come. My...

August 22, 2013

It's the time of year where parents buy lunchbox snacks, kids stuff blank composition books into stiff backpacks, and teachers stand at their classroom door waiting to greet their new class. Happy back to school!

Regardless of the grade or school, the transition back to school is one filled with emotions: excitement, fear, nerves, laughter, tears and a lot of trusting that it will all...

June 21, 2013

I heard an entertaining interview with Daniel Handler (who writes as Lemony Snicket of the Series of Unfortunate Events) this week on NPR. Snicket was talking about his...

June 17, 2013

Do you ever drag your feet when someone tells you absolutely must do something — especially when it's supposed to be "good" for you? I know I do —and so do lots of young people. Call it human nature. Call it whatever, but foot-dragging can be a real drag on summer learning especially for children who associate books exclusively with school.

Maybe a different approach can help: a...

June 11, 2013

It's never easy to talk with young kids about tough subjects, like illness and death. Sometimes a children's book can open the door to conversations that need to happen. Books can also help teach new and scary vocabulary words in a gentle way. Last, a book can bring some comfort by helping a child feel less alone. It may help to learn that other kids have a Mom or Dad who is also fighting...

Pages

"A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." — Chinese Proverb