Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, by Esme Raji Codell

I saw this book on Algonquin's list and I had to take a peek. How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike is not a new release. It's on Algonquin's back-list. I had a feeling though that this might be one of those great How-To resources that were worth looking into.

How to Get Your Child to Love Reading is a cousin to Read for the Heart (linked to my thoughts) or Honey for a Child's Heart. I would say the difference is in the author. Esme Raji Codell is a former schoolteacher and school librarian who is clearly passionate about children's literature. Her enthusiasm for it jumps off of the first few pages as she makes the argument that some children say that they do not like reading simply because they haven't been matched with the right book or author. Codell isn't so much a proponent of one-size-fits-all but certain-books-for-certain-children to develop a love of reading, learning and maturing.

"With the right guidance, and some freedom of choice, he will find authors he likes. Most problems arise in school settings when too many mismatches have been bound into one big fat textbook that the child is assigned every day, or if the literature made available to that child is of poor quality or incongruous with the child's ability and interests. When this happens, no one can accuse a child of being unjustified if he forms negative associations with books and takes that bloodcurdling leap into the world of "I hate reading." (page 5)

From the front page to the last, this book is filled with ideas on how to connect children with books in meaningful ways. As Codell says, this is not just a book about ideas but it is about personal experiences. Things you will find inside these pages:

1. Thematic reading lists.
2. Tips for reading aloud.
3. Encouragement to know the child you are reading to or with.
4. Ideas for incorporating art into the reading experience.
5. Websites to further your own knowledge about certain books.
6. Brief introductions to a variety of well-known children's authors
7. Activity and event ideas surrounding BOOKS!

How to Get Your Child to Love Reading is a handy resource to have available whether or not your kids love to read or hate it. (My kids love to read. My general idea is to spread books all over the house so that they are always underfoot and "in the way." The children are attracted to the "mess" and naturally take to it. Yes, this is my theory. It's not that I just haven't gotten around to shelving the books. No, no. Books probably belong on the floor. They are better loved that way. So far, my messy book plan seems to be working!)

I liked flipping through this particular book as it inspired me to find new ways to enjoy good books with my children. Codell has an excited sounding writing voice which motivates me onward. You know that if you say something in an exciting tone, you can almost make anyone believe everything you say. Of course, it helps if your audience is already pre-disposed to agree with your argument.

Thanks, Algonquin, for allowing me the opportunity to browse this book!


Bluerose said...

I'm laughing at your "book mess"! That's the way it is at our house, too! Unfortunately, it's not on purpose, though. I make sure there's books in almost every room, but they are continually spread through the floor. That's okay, though. :)

This sounds like a beneficial read! I like that she sounds so excited for her cause.

Barbara H. said...

I wish I'd had that when my guys were young. They all loved reading when they were little, but only one stayed an avid reader. Another is getting back into it some as an adult, and I have hopes the youngest will as well. He does enjoy reading when he has to (his English teacher requires a certain number of book reports a year. Yay!) But he doesn't pick up a book unless he has to at this point, which makes me sad.

Queen of Carrots said...

I also subscribe to the theory that they will love reading if they are constantly tripping over books. It's worth the occasional library fine.

Annette Whipple said...

I had not heard of your book plan before. I like it. Mine pull the books off the shelf...and sit and read/look for ages. :)

But mine are young...and I pray that my son will especially will keep loving books.

This sounds like a good follow up to Lit! which I just finished at 6:30 this morning. (I couldn't keep my eyes open last night for the last 6 pages!)

Sky said...

LOL! Now I can use my messy book house as a working theory to make my kids love books!
We have been so wrapped up in getting everything done in school that we have neglected our regular reading. I think I would enjoy flipping through this book as well.
Thanks for the review!

Shonya said...

He, he, I'm thinking that must be a very short book.

How to Get Your Child to Love Reading
Love Reading.
The End


OK, now I'm going to actually read your review!

Carrie said...

@Shonya - HAHAHA!

@QOC & Sky - ;D It's impossible to keep books on the shelves. The kids just drag them out again and I only feel motivation to re-shelve every once in awhile.

Because all of our books are making their way out of boxes these days, they are scattered EVERYWHERE. Bookworm1 picked up a picture book of Lewis & Clark and asked to read it - twice! So, having them out and about makes them a curiosity. It works! ;D

Stephanie Kay said...

That's why I switched to baskets. Somehow it's easier to put a book in a basket than to put it on a shelf. We also have books everywhere.

My oldest (8 yrs) is an avid reader. More accurately he DEVOURS books. I know it's time to visit the library when he starts wandering through the house in search of new reading material. Last week he set a goal for himself to read all of our Ramona books, again. He did it in 3 days.

My #2 boy (7 yrs) is a different kind of reader. At the beginning of this school year I panicked that he wasn't going to love reading. Then I relaxed as I realized he's a non-fiction guy. He'll sit with Dad and read page after page of an animal encyclopedia but let Dad pick up Hardy Boys or some other adventure fiction to read aloud and he's off to other parts of the house.

All that to say, I agree with the author that books and children are not one size fits all.

Sky said...

I love talking about books and listening to people talk about books! Now I have to write a longer post about loving books on my blog.

alice@Supratentorial said...

I really loved this book, mostly as a resource. I used the birthday lists for about a year when my son was younger, we had author themed birthday parties monthly which was really fun.

A funny story is that my oldest saw this book on my shelf and looked at me accusingly and said "Hey, did you USE that book on me?" He loves to read, but I think he was shocked at the idea that somehow I'd been working an evil plan on him. :)

Diary of an Autodidact said...

I think my family needs a book more along the lines of "How to Get Your Kids to Get Their Noses Out of the Books"...

Shonya is right. If the parents love reading, the kids will naturally pick up on that.

Lorri said...

Totally love the idea of having tons of books lying around. We try to keep them shelved, but the whole reason I shop at Goodwill is so that the books will be here in our home (and we haven't broken the bank to buy them). This book looks fantastic, thanks for sharing your review!

*carrie* said...

I read another book by this author many years ago that was about teaching. Her name always makes me smile because my nickname in college was "Codell" since it was my first initial and my last name.

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