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How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life
by Paul Kropp
ISBN 0385479131 / 9780385479134 / 0-385-47913-1
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The news about children's reading is not good. Only 45% of fourth graders read for pleasure and by twelfth grade, only 24% find joy in reading. But Paul Kropp, a teacher for 20 years and author of young adult novels, has better news: the road to reading can be paved by parents because "reading is not a skill, it is an attitude." How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life is a wonderfully practical primer about how families can discover the joy of reading together.
Kropp grounds his suggestions in the intriguing premise that reading is a social activity. He offers a crash course in "two thousand years of reading out loud" noting that for most of recorded history, reading silently was unusual and reading aloud was the norm. For example, medieval kings and queens had manuscripts read to them, St. Augustine read to the Benedictine monks, and Englishmen gathered in pubs for a reading of the latest installment of a Charles Dickens novel. Kropp urges parents to begin reading aloud to their babes in arms and to never stop reading together.
Kropp packs every page with energy, fresh ideas, must-read book lists and nongimmicky "reading solutions." He offers parents a "three R" model (read with your child every day, reach into your pocket to buy books, rule the media). Several chapters are devoted to the developmental ages and stages of reading--beginning with floating vinyl books in a baby's bath and ending with ideas for engaging what Kropp calls "aliterate" teens who can read, but don't. Other sections explore specific reading challenges including bored readers, reluctant readers, gifted readers, reading slumps, and "dysteachia" (bad teachers).
Kropp believes that reading should be a birthright for all of our children. The beauty of this book is that every chapter helps parents to deliver on this promise. Just imagine what might happen if a copy of How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life accompanied every newborn home from the hospital. --Barbara Mackoff [via]