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You Read to Me & I'll Read to You: 20th Century Stories to Share

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2001

    Sharing the Love of Reading and Your Mutual Love!

    Reading to children is tremendously important in helping them develop an interest in reading, a competence to read better, and a closeness between the reader and listener. With beginning reading books, children often memorize the pages and ¿read¿ the material back. Gradually, the memory is connected to the specific letter combinations on the page and words are learned. For the adults, the retreat from reader to listener is often rapid during the years from ages 5-7. It is easy to forget that children love to be read to when they are older. With more difficult material, the same learning process applies. My daughter, for example, delighted in having an English teacher in 7th grade who read to the class every day. Even if you do decide to read to one another, what do you read? It is hard to take on 150 page youth books. Into this perceptual and content gap comes the very helpful You Read to Me & I¿ll Read to You. Having helped raise four children and being quite interested in reading to them . . . as well as being someone who often reviews children¿s books, I was humbled to realize that the very fine stories in this volume were mostly new to me. I wish this book had been published about 25 years ago so I could have read all of these stories with my children. Most of the stories are at a third grade reading level, so the reading to one another will make a lot of progress over time. Some of the material would be appealing to kindergartners, but the vocabulary for most of the stories would be past many first graders. My suggestion is that you read all of the stories, and think about which ones will be right for the child you will be listening to and reading to. There is no organization for helping you select the stories, other than a suggestion of beginning with Maurice Sendak¿s ¿Pierre.¿ If vocabulary is going to be a barrier for some stories, you might start working on explaining the unknown words by working them into everyday speech before reading the stories. Then, think about the strategy for sharing the reading. The first time you read the book together, you might explain that you are looking forward to having the book read to you in the future. Before the child can read whole sentences, you might let your child read whatever words she or he knows and you read the other words. As competence builds, you could alternate words, sentences, paragraphs or whatever is fun for both of you. A good discussion of which method to use, which story to choose, and how long to read can make the time together livelier. Notice that if you live at a distance or have to travel, you could acquire two books and share the reading over the telephone. One of the strengths of the selections comes in that there is a good representation of stories about both boys and girls. The original illustrations appear with the stories, which give them extra character for encouraging the right kind of emotion for reading aloud. My favorite stories in the book are ¿Wilma Unlimited¿ (about Wilma Rudolph overcoming challenges to become a track champion), ¿The Bears on Hemlock Mountain¿ (handling danger in the dark), ¿The Practical Princess¿ (turning a princess into a dragon slayer and brave heroine), 'The Tenth Good Thing About Barney' (dealing with the death of beloved pet) and ¿Flat Stanley¿ (about a boy who is temporary flattened and experiences a change in his life style). Other excellent stories are ¿Amos & Boris¿ (a whale and mouse pair who help each other somewhat like the lion and mouse do in the Aesop¿s Fables), ¿The Magic Finger¿ (Roald Dahl¿s fantasy about role reversals between hunters and the hunted), ¿Horton Hatches the Egg¿ (Dr. Seuss¿s classic story about faithfulness), ¿The Araboolies of Liberty Street¿ (challenging what ¿different¿ means), and ¿Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs¿ (a food fantasy). The only story in the collection that I disliked was ¿No Kiss for Mother.¿ If any of the stories are not your cup o

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