How to Get Your Child to Love Reading

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Overview

Are children reading enough? Not according to most parents and teachers, who know that reading aloud with children fosters a lifelong love of books, ensures better standardized test scores, promotes greater success in school, and helps instill the values we most want to pass on.

Esmé Raji Codell—an inspiring children's literature specialist and an energetic teacher—has the solution. She's turned her years of experience with children, parents, librarians, and fellow educators ...

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Overview

Are children reading enough? Not according to most parents and teachers, who know that reading aloud with children fosters a lifelong love of books, ensures better standardized test scores, promotes greater success in school, and helps instill the values we most want to pass on.

Esmé Raji Codell—an inspiring children's literature specialist and an energetic teacher—has the solution. She's turned her years of experience with children, parents, librarians, and fellow educators into a great big indispensable volume designed to help parents get their kids excited about reading.

Here are hundreds of easy and inventive ideas, innovative projects, creative activities, and inspiring suggestions that have been shared, tried, and proven with children from birth through eighth grade.

This five-hundred-page volume is brimming with themes for superlative storytimes and book-based birthday parties, ideas for mad-scientist experiments and half-pint cooking adventures, stories for reluctant readers and book groups for boys, step-by-step instructions for book parades, book-related crafts, storytelling festivals, literature-based radio broadcasts, readers' theater, and more. There are book lists galore, with subject-driven reading recommendations for science, math, cooking, nature, adventure, music, weather, gardening, sports, mythology, poetry, history, biography, fiction, and fairy tales. Codell's creative thinking and infectious enthusiasm will empower even the busiest parents and children to include literature in their lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Codell (Educating Esme) has amassed an exuberant treasure trove for parents who want to help their children develop a love of reading. A strong believer in reading aloud, Codell gives an admiring nod to the work of Jim Trelease (The Read-Aloud Handbook), while presenting her own theory that interest (finding the right books for the child), integration (using reading as a springboard into other disciplines) and invention (when a child's unique ideas are inspired by the writing) can make the difference in how a youngster approaches reading. Codell, a teacher and librarian, resists grouping books by age level, explaining, "don't let somebody else's scoring system define your child, and don't let reading levels level your child's love of reading." Instead, she offers a simple method for determining whether a book is too difficult while pointing out that kids may listen on a much higher level than they read. The witty, comical "Madame Esme" (as she calls herself) offers scores of thematic book lists parents can use to inspire young readers, ranging from topics as diverse as medieval England to dinosaurs or hiccups. Covering a vast spectrum of subjects and authors, Codell casts a wide net as she builds a magical literary bridge between home and school. With appendixes of Caldecott and Newbery winners present and past, the book is akin to having one's own personal children's librarian at one's fingertips. Codell creates a contagious enthusiasm for the enormous value of children's literature, which will leave parents primed for their next trip to the library or bookstore. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Warning! If you pick up this book at a local bookstore with the intention of browsing, don't. Just buy it. Not only is it worth owning but also as soon as you start reading you will have a difficult time putting this volume down. You will be chuckling to yourself beginning with the table of contents and intrigued by a unique style of writing that welcomes its readers right from the page one. Madame Esme, as she is sometimes called, has written an honest, humor filled, wide-ranging resource book for parents facing the huge world of children's literature. It is a large volume jam-packed with list after themed list of top-notch children's books from the well-known classics to the more obscure titles. Along with the lists are many ideas, stepping off places and activities such as a time travel machine, un-birthday parties, daytime slumber parties and baking parties that guarantee reading adventures. Also included are author spotlights, tips for parents, letters from readers, and potato picks (you have to read the book or at least the first chapter to understand this). Reviews are interspersed throughout. This is a must have book that was written by an experienced educator, former librarian and former children's bookseller who obviously loves and respects children and cares that they be given every opportunity to experience quality books. Though subtitled as a guide for parents, teachers of all kinds will benefit tremendously by using this guide to motivate the unmotivated and inspire the already avid readers. 2003, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill/Workman Publishing, Ages Adult.
— Trina Heidt
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565123083
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 6/6/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 299,690
  • Product dimensions: 7.25 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

A nationally renowned advocate for literacy and literature-based instruction, Esmé Raji Codell is today "one of the nation's most sought-after voices for empowering teachers" (People) and a "Superstar of Education" (Scolastic Instructor). Esmé has been interviewed on CBS This Morning, CNN, C-SPAN’s Book Talk, and NPR. The author of How to Get Your Child to Love Reading as well as award-winning books for children, Esmé lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she spent many years as an educator in Chicago public schools and now runs the popular children's literature Web site PlanetEsme.com and the unique literary salon, the PlanetEsme Bookroom.

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Read an Excerpt

This book started with a potato. I was sitting at my kitchen table, staring at a dimpled, wrinkling, sprouting old potato. I thought to myself, if I had a potato, nothing but a potato, how could I teach a classroom full of children?

Well, I could cut a potato in half. (I can use the paring knife from my own kitchen, right?) We could review fractions. With one half, I could cut a design and do potato prints. We could plant the eyes from the other half of the potato (it can have eyes, right?) and grow more potatoes, charting their growth. We could write a story about a potato, or write a book of potato recipes or potato poems. If we grew enough potatoes, we could make potato stamps of all the letters of the alphabet, and I could teach reading. I could go to the public library and find "The Potato with Big Ideas" from Little Old Mrs. Pepperpot by Alf Proysen or Brave Potatoes by Toby Speed. We could talk about the Irish potato famine of 1845, maybe read true accounts from Feed the Children First by Mary E. Lyons or Black Potatoes by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. We could write letters to the executives at Frito-Lay about their potato chips, or Playskool regarding their product, Mr. Potato Head.

Perhaps I am a bit potato headed myself, wasting precious time plotting the pedagogy of potatoes, but it begs the question, how do we teach our children, using what is available to us? Moreover, is there anything available to us that is as plentiful and versatile as potatoes, ready to feed all appetites?

Yes, there is. Children's literature is our national potato. Thousands of studies from the U.S. Department of Education as well as findings by independent researchers here and abroad consistently credit the utilization of children's literature for everything from school achievement to emotional development to increased life span and higher standards of living. So many of the dreams and goals we have for children, and that they have for themselves, can be advanced through the use of children's literature. So much of the blame exchanged between school, community, and family about education's failure can be converted into shared responsibility and success through children's literature. But the thing is, if you hand somebody a potato, or if you hand somebody a children's book, and he doesn't know how to make it cook . . . well, then.

This book is a recipe book for children's literature: how to serve it up so it's delicious and varied. Children's literature makes for a main course or a sustaining side dish, so you can use these recipes no matter what is on the menu in your child's classroom. First, let's recognize the main ingredient: trade literature, which is the kind of books and reading material you can find readily available at bookstores and libraries. These books have clearly designated authors and illustrators, with characters that usually appear in print before they appear on a television screen. I was trained as a teacher but it was not through teacher training that I discovered there was the whole world in children's literature. Instead, it was during the seven years I spent in children's bookselling before I got my degree. Every genre and every subject was there in the bookstores, many at a level of quality that rivaled or exceeded that of adult literature-only specially designed with children in mind and encompassing so much energy, joy, and imagination that these elements became the criteria for excellence. This inspired me entirely. While studying to become a teacher, I could imagine nothing greater than delivering this world to the children I would teach. This dream became my energy and my joy. It was as the great Russian writer Maxim Gorky wrote about his discovery of books in My Apprenticeship: "I came to appreciate what good books really were and realized how much I needed them and they gradually gave me a stoical confidence in myself: I was not alone in this world and I would not perish!" By using children's literature, I had the utmost faith that when I became a teacher, I, too, would not perish or feel alone, which is a wonderful and sometimes unusual thing for a teacher to believe. But I considered myself in an even more formidable position to use exclamation points than Gorky, because not only would I not perish, not only would I not be alone in the world, I had the tool that would allow me to help children to feel the same amazing way.

As strongly as I feel about advocating for the child, I feel equally as strong about advocating for the author. If, in the course of delivering literature-based education, we can constantly remind children that authors and illustrators are real and singular people, with intentions, then we are not only giving children the books, we are giving them the people behind the books. And if you are talking about reading, you are talking about connecting the two. In facilitating this connection, the most important question we can ask about a book is, "Why did the author write this?" In other words, "What did the author want to share?" This is a very difficult question, and it is the most important question, because it connects the child across time and space with this real person, this author, who had something to share, and cared enough to share it. This is extraordinary magic, a trick that allows a child who can read the option of never being quite as alone as a child who cannot. "Why did the author write this?" is also a question that can be asked of any book on any level, thus opening up a world of picture books to older readers, because any reading is made more sophisticated when this relationship is addressed. The connection between the author or illustrator and the young reader is a particularly remarkable relationship in which an adult trusts a child with all sorts of dreams and stories and memories and confidences and explanations. For many children, this relationship with an author may be the first emotional bond shared with an adult outside her own family and community. From this perspective, it should not be taken lightly.

If your child understands that a book is an extension of an author, then your child will also understand that he may not always connect with an author's style, just like he may not always like everybody he meets. And he will understand that he can always get another book and read what someone else has to share. 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." If reading is indeed a relationship between author and reader, people in the position of matching children with books are responsible for making informed choices so that the children are matched appropriately, so that they are most receptive to what the author or illustrator is trying to communicate. This is only difficult if you (a) don't know the body of literature available, (b) don't know the child, or (c) don't have access to books. I hope the thematic storytime adventures in this book will offer you a chance to know children's literature and to use it to connect with the children you love.

Potato Possibilities

When I figured out what I most enjoyed was sharing literature, I changed my job from "Madame EsmT, Classroom Teacher" to "Madame EsmT, School Librarian" so I could do more of what I loved. Whether working as a bookseller, storyteller, teacher, or librarian, I have discovered approaches that complement and support literature-based learning. Approaches are merely tools that allow us to present the main ingredient in delectable ways. Now, if we were talking about preparing a potato, maybe we'd approach it with a knife, a grater, a masher, a deep fryer. We'd need to come up with a lot of ways to prepare potatoes if we expected them to remain appetizing over a period of time. In this book, I discuss read-aloud, thematic, and integrated approaches to presenting literature-ways to keep books fresh, and, with a little practice, these approaches are as easy as mashing potatoes. Working with a theme, for instance, can give your child's reading a shape and can tie in to interests that will further motivate her. Nonfiction and historical fiction broaden learning's scope, and help children integrate, or see the connections between, reading and all areas of life. Read-aloud is the simple act of opening a book and reading it to a child. It can and should also be integrated into all areas of literature-based learning because read-aloud is literature-based education's gravitational force, the sun around which other planets, or literature-based approaches, revolve and maintain a forward direction. As I was pondering potato possibilities for using what already exists, I realized that the potential for reading could reveal itself in unexpected places, too. We've all encountered the musician in the subway. Well, for a change of pace, what grown-up wouldn't enjoy a bit of read-aloud before the train arrives? Maybe an adventure serial, or a folktale for all five o'clock commuters? Wouldn't it be nice to hear the train coming and all the passengers crying, "Aaawww," disappointed that they will have to wait to find out what happens-or excited to go out and buy the book for themselves?

I've also noticed children sitting on the curb in front of the Laundromat for hours, while their clothes wash, rinse, spin, wash, rinse, spin. What a perfect place for a bookshelf. Or how about the video store? How about books that were made into movies borrowed free with rental?

Then I looked at my own apartment. Couldn't I do something there?

The answer was yes. When I left teaching for maternity leave, and when I left again to write full-time and to run a children's literature Web site, I still had the desire to read to children. So I started to run children's literature programming out of my home. I realized how easy it was to do, and I also realized that anyone who likes children and children's books could do it, and would do it, if they knew how. People who understood the value of literacy and had the tools to instill that value in their children could create a remarkable community of readers. A country of readers. A planet of readers. Suddenly reading no longer seemed like such a solitary pursuit.

We have wonderful opportunities, all of us, to be proactive in delivering the best books for children and to work alongside educators. We aren't talking about anything exotic here. We are not talking about kiwi or rambutan or truffles or macadamias-remember, we are talking about the potato of education. I love when a teacher serves my child this potato. I am so thankful when she does. The great strength of our schools is that there are adults in those buildings who know what to do if they are only given a potato. But on the occasion when the schools don't deliver, I know I can. It is that freedom and empowerment that I hope to share with parents. And that is the premise and the promise of potato pedagogy. Let's not focus on worrying whether or not a child is full. Instead, let's assume a child is hungry. Let's focus on offering our children the best of what we have, knowing that if we offer it, the needs of the whole child will eventually be satisfied. All the children in this country can be fed!

Potatoes Up Close and Personal

This book is not just a book of ideas, but a book of personal experiences. These titles and suggestions have already been shared, tried, and proven with children from birth through eighth grade. I hope that they give you confidence to share, try, and innovate on your own. Some of the special features you will find in this book include: Reading Heroes. Mentors from both the present and the past have taught me something important about reading, how to love it, and how to share it. I mention them throughout the book, in the hope that they will inspire you to consider and embrace your own reading heroes.

Dear Madame EsmT. This "advice column" feature was inspired by the many letters and conversations I have had with teachers and parents from around the country looking for book recommendations to match their unique situations. You may find your own reading-related questions answered!

Potato Picks. No, this is not something your child pulls from his ear. Featured for excellence on the Web site PlanetEsme.com, these are suggestions for outstanding single titles, perfect for gifts or a read-aloud. Pick one with confidence whenever you need a surefire hit, or just use them to acquaint yourself as an adult with the best of children's books.

Thematic Lists. Special interests a specialty! Grab a pile of these books to create a great storytime or reading program based on the particular enthusiasms of the children you know and love. Also look for creative cues throughout the thematic lists. These imaginative crafts or activities serve as extensions of the ideas in the books and can help you entertain a hands-on horde.

Web sites. Log on to find resources that will further your knowledge and better your book collection.

As an author, I have personal biases that are sure to hang out like a loose hem, so I will admit to them now:

I am interested in educational theory. I like to know how children learn. There are many viable new and exciting theories and approaches out there that impact reading instruction, but I have to confess that my heart belongs to old-fashioned behaviorism, which views learning simply as a change in behavior. I have a particular interest in reading because it can be a great catalyst toward behavioral change. The changes can be subtle, such as knowing that the letter "B" goes "buh-buh-buh" when we didn't know "B" went any way at all. Or it can be more complicated: a change in the way we treat one another, such as moving from being suspicious or afraid to being at ease. Another covenant of behaviorism is that if you make people smile, they stick around and keep trying, and if you make them frown or say "ow," they stay away. I think the changes possible through literacy are worth going to great lengths so that people smile and stick around.

Some people are of the theory that knowing theories doesn't make a doo-wah of a difference, that you can still make people smile and frown without knowing one thing about behaviorism, and that just by loving kids you will make learning happen. This may be true, but still, I don't subscribe to the theory of unilateral-theory-discard. I don't like having to operate on instinct. If you know why you are doing what you are doing, you can do a better job of advocating for your approach if it works, or understanding why it doesn't work and being more helpful next time. So I'll try not to be overbearing, but I do think it's important to acknowledge research and theoretical work now and then-to remind us that we are not reinventing the wheel here, we are trying to ride the bike.

I like read-aloud. Please assume (unless otherwise noted) that every fiction book I recommend is suitable for read-aloud and that, also in fact, I have read it out loud to a child or group of children before I recommended it here. You will find that much of the nonfiction is also right for read-aloud, but I am more circumspect about recommending it wholesale as such; cookbooks are not usually cliffhangers.

I like diversity. I take a multicultural, nonsectarian approach. Because I worked in public schools, the books I shared were centered more on holiday celebrations and less on religion or religious history.

I am not an authority on sectarian literature. Nonetheless, I do believe the books I have recommended have value for character education, and I do consider literacy a worthy mission for all faiths.

I like baked goods. I fall for frosting and I'm a sucker for sprinkles. This bias makes me tend to sugarcoat things, literally. If any of my suggestions cause caloric concern, feel free to substitute granola bars, carob chips, fruit gummy-yummies, and carrot sticks for your children where you see fit.

I wish everyone could come over to my apartment so we could talk about children and I could show you some of my favorite books-but everyone is a lot of people and I don't think you'd all fit. So instead here in this book I offer the best of my bookshelves and kitchen and playroom and library and classroom. I'm going to load you down with potato stew to take to your own home and dish up to those you care about. You will, of course, add your own spice. I give you my best recipes in all selfishness. I give to you from my own hunger for the day that all children will find the transports of reading, just as I was blessed to discover it thanks to people who cared enough.

In folktales, the hero is given just a little advantage, some special helpful item such as an invisible cloak or magic walnut or bone or doll or needle or potion or some juicy insider advice. Since you are about to be the hero of your child's reading experience, it stands to reason that you are entitled to some special helpful item as you set out, to give you confidence that you will prevail in your efforts. Since I am low on magic bones and dolls and potions and walnuts, you will have to settle for Magic Background Knowledge, which will give you perspective on why you are doing what you are doing and help you deal with any adversaries.

Magic Piece of Background Knowledge #1 Number One Read-Aloud Works Every Time

Literature-based learning involves maximizing the potential of what we already have in place, using our homes, libraries, and schools. All of these places have doors, and we need to hold them open in such a way that children can walk through and find a lifelong love of books. As the grown-up in charge, you will win the keys to those doors if you can answer a few simple game-show questions:

What activity offers sixteen advantages to a child in twenty minutes? What helps to level the academic playing field for all children regardless of what statistical group they fall under (gender, class, race, working parents, single parents, English as a second language)? What approach has ten thousand research reports by the U.S. Department of Education backing it?

If you answered read-aloud to all three questions, you win a new refrigerator . . . and the key to better education. Daily read-aloud involves nothing more than reading a book out loud to a child, every day. The approach is versatile: The child may be following the text in your copy of the book, or in his or her own copy, or maybe not following the text at all, just listening to what is being read. It is unnervingly simple. It does not require any paperwork or special training, and asks nothing of the child but a little attention. In fact, it is so easy on everyone's part that it is hard to believe an activity only slightly more kinetic than television viewing could yield results that verge on the miraculous. But the results are in: Read-aloud is one of the extremely rare methods in education with positive results based not only in theory, but in reality, too. The implications and damn good reasons to read aloud are articulated in Jim Trelease's classic The Read-Aloud Handbook.

Research compiled by Trelease establishes that sharing books: 1. Conditions the child to associate reading with pleasure, an association that is necessary in order to maintain reading as a lifelong activity. 2. Contributes to background knowledge for all other subject areas, including science, history, geography, math, and social studies. 3. Provides the child with a reading role model. 4. Creates empathy toward other people, because literature values humanity and celebrates the human spirit and potential, offering insight into different lifestyles while recognizing universality. 5. Increases a child's vocabulary and grammar, and has the potential to improve writing skills. 6. Improves a child's probability of staying in school. 7. Improves future probability of employment and higher quality of life. 8. Increases life span by virtue of correlated education, employment, and higher quality of life. 9. Lowers probability of imprisonment. 10. Improves problem-solving and critical- thinking skills that are fundamental and transferable to all other areas of learning. 11. Offers information. 12. Offers laughter and entertainment and an alternative to television. 13. Improves attention span. 14. Stimulates the imagination. 15. Nurtures emotional development and improves self-esteem. And sweet 16. Reading skills are accrued skills that are bound to improve over time . . . a countdown to academic success.

Looking at this list of benefits, I see that read-aloud is kind of an education unto itself, like travel would be, which makes sense, since reading is mental travel. Older children need this trip as often as younger children do, although read-aloud tends to drop off as children age and adults become afraid to interfere in a child's reading self-sufficiency. The act of read-aloud is so easy and natural to do, and can be so enjoyable, that many parents (and teachers, too) feel it must be more appropriate and beneficial for younger children. This is a fallacy, and a very dangerous one: The fall-off of read-aloud can be correlated to the fall-off of interest in reading, with 90 percent of fifth-graders spending less than 1 percent of their time reading. Eighth-graders average a little less than two hours a week reading, including homework. While an older child may know how to decode the words, that's only the beginning of a life of reading, and without read-aloud, it could also be the end. More mature readers may need the flow of discussion to encourage prediction skills, to understand character development, to determine cause and effect. They benefit from the model of an adult reading with proper pacing and attention to dialect and punctuation, and learn to troubleshoot by watching an adult guess from context or look up an unknown word. Some adults are more comfortable taking turns reading out loud with a child, but please recognize that if the child prefers to simply listen, it is a perfectly safe indulgence. Read-aloud has the power not only to sustain but to resuscitate an interest in and affection for the printed word for children of all ages, and this book will offer plenty of hooks to bring older and reluctant readers up to the same page as their more proficient peers. Every single one of the outcomes of literature-based education is something that a child's teacher is hoping for and working toward every day, so read-aloud is the perfect home/ school collaboration. Conflicts often arise between teachers and parents when they forget they are working toward the same goals. Read-aloud addresses goals that I believe everyone can agree upon, creating a beautiful bridge between school and home-in fact, making the two less distinguishable from one another. As a teacher, there was nothing I'd rather parents did with their child than read aloud on a regular basis. As a parent, there is nothing I'd rather be doing. Now that I am on the parent side of the fence, I wonder if the teacher is looking at my child with loving eyes, if she will see his potential the way that I do. Conversely, as a teacher, I have wondered if I was doing enough, recognizing enough, empowering enough. As both a parent and teacher, I have wondered which parts of my influence will dissipate over time. By reading aloud, though, I have confidence that I am giving children-my own and others-a great and lasting tool as they enter the wilderness of adulthood. A love of reading and a strong ability to read can be a compass leading children to the information they need to survive or to live better, and leading them to a view of themselves and others that reaches toward the horizon. I don't think read-aloud will completely erase the guilt and doubt that plagues conscientious parents and teachers. I do think anyone who consistently reads aloud to a child can be assured that on some level they are giving a child the best that can be offered, whether the child attends public, private, or home school.

Magic Piece of Background Knowledge #2

Kids Have Reasons for Reading and These Reasons—-or Motivations—-Can Be Milked Magazines, newspapers, picture books, comics, how-to books, novels . . . With the variety of print available, why is it sometimes so difficult to get children "into" reading? The simple approach I used when teaching can be modified to use at home. Think about reading in terms of motivations. I pick up a book and start scheming: "What could get a child to turn these pages?" I have found that the answer to this question falls under one of three categories: Interest, Integration, and Invention.

The Three Is Interest

Interest-motivated reading is when a child seeks out reading materials for information and/or enjoyment. It is the motivation for pleasure reading. Maybe it's enjoying a book after seeing a related movie, wanting to read material that a parent or teacher has shared, taking a book to camp or on vacation, reading on a rainy day, or pursuing a particular interest. Anything we do for pleasure can have visceral or emotional effects: smiles, laughter, tears; the feeling of being less alone; the sense that time is flying; the thrill of new ideas and dreams. Anything we do for pleasure is also likely something we will want to repeat in the future, so even though interest is the simplest motivation, it is also the crux. Ideally it is joyful reading, indicative of will and individual taste. It is a lucky child who is allowed to choose his own books without judgment and whose parents and teachers suggest books solely to make the day more pleasant. It is through the freedom of choice that the child becomes self-actualized as a reader and is more likely to read for a lifetime. Sample role-playing of a parent supporting a child toward interest-motivated reading: "You can stay up as late as you want tonight, as long as you're reading." "I know you like baseball. Here's a book of Hall-of-Famers." "Here's a flashlight. I've set a place for you in the closet/under the table/on those pillows over there, so you can have a private spot to read." "I've been saving this present for a rainy day. Here's a new book/my favorite book from when I was your age." "It is hard to wait! Here, read this, it'll make the time fly by." "Would you keep me company while I sort laundry by reading me an article that interests you from the newspaper?" "Tell me about that book you just finished. It looked interesting." Integration I first learned about the power of subject integration as a bookseller in an independent bookstore. Integration was a trick used to get customers to walk away with more than they intended to buy by connecting literature to all areas of interest and learning. Integrated reading happens when a child is convinced to use reading as a springboard into other disciplines. The end product is often more tangible than interest-motivated reading, but still is directly related to the reading of a book. From an educational point of view, subject-integrated reading is extremely desirable because it affords two very special opportunities. First, it gives educators in places where arts education is undervalued a chance to incorporate the arts into basic skills: The arts are integrated every time kids are asked to create dance interpretations, dramatizations, songs, and visual art projects based on what they read. Creative interpretations are often art-integrated translations of fiction, but the second cool thing integrated reading does is lay out a red carpet for the reading of nonfiction. Integration takes books into the real world, where life (unlike most classroom studies) is not separated into subject areas, and where things are made and done. Your child may read a nonfiction book because of interest in the subject, but the outcome (knowing how to play a sport, measuring ingredients for a recipe, wowing friends with a yo-yo skill) may result in experiences that reach far beyond the pleasures and boundaries of the printed page.

Sample role-playing of a parent guiding a child to an integrated reading experience: "Why do you think the illustrator chose to put this character alone on the page, with all this space around him? Does the character seem near or far from us? How did the illustrator make it seem that way? (Reading 5 art.) "I'm so glad you enjoyed Joanna Cole's Ms. Frizzle's Adventures in Ancient Egypt. Let's go to the Field Museum this weekend and find out the real story about ancient Egypt." (Reading 5 history, social studies.) "I can't get this lawn mower/clock/toy to work. Would you mind going to the library to see if you can find The Way Things Work by David Macaulay to show us how it operates, so we can fix it?" (Reading 5 science.)

Invention Invention-motivated reading does not only reflect the many facets of the book, it showcases the many facets of the reader. There is only a thin line between integration and invention. The best way to tell when invention-motivated reading has occurred is when the child produces something that integrates disciplines, but is unlikely or impossible to be duplicated by another child. The child departs from a formula, allowing the writing to influence his ideas, but not dictate the final product. For instance, two children can hear "The Three Bears," be given a recipe, and go home and make very similar tasting porridge. That would be integrated learning. But asked to invent a porridge that Papa Bear would enjoy, the children may come up with surprisingly different end products. That's invention . . . or, if you prefer, "inspiration," or "initiative." Reading that initiates or inspires invention may also elicit responses that have a very indirect relationship to the book, such as imitating small personal qualities of admired characters. As the young and brilliant diarist Anne Frank once wrote, "If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly in hand before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer." Reading that motivates initiative may be the most powerful of all. Such reading helps children experiment-and ultimately decide-what kind of people they want to be. Such reading helps children invent themselves.

While the other types of motivations often come into play before reading begins (attractive covers spark interest, the need to prepare a project at school leads to integration), invention is spontaneous and often determined after the reading is finished, requiring the child to not only read the book once but return to it. The decision-making and creative quality sets invention-motivated reading apart from the rest. Examples of end products might include: theatrics such as dances, puppetry, reenactments, musical interpretations; writing follow-up chapters at the end of a book, or creative writing such as in journals, letters, family newspapers; creating costumes; storytelling; creative cooking; imaginative play; social action. Adults can do less to initiate invention-motivated activities, because such reading is a very personal synthesis of the first two "I"s in

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2006

    A Must for Anyone Who Loves Kids and Books

    After years of time spent in the classroom, in day cares, and in library science classes, I have finally found it: the jackpot of ideas, reviews, jokes, and advice on working with kids and books. Although the title recommends itself to parents, this book is applicable to anyone who cares about fostering a life-long love of reading in children. A wonderful gift idea for a new parent, teacher or librarian - they will thank you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2004

    Essential for Parents and Educators

    Who would have thought that you could explore just about everything through books¿Esmè Raji Codell did! Esmè has put her years of labor and research into this inspirational five-hundred page book geared at helping parents, teachers and educators bring amusement and excitement back into books and reading for children. Using creative ideas, activities, and stories the author has given you a valued path for success. Esmè¿s ideas and creativity are sure to spark your interest and have your children reading in no time. How to Get Your Child to Love Reading is essential for parents and educators and I would recommend its purchase.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2003

    An Exciting Book Packed with Lists, Ideas and Activities -- A Must Have

    Esme Codell is a delightfully 'up' person, whose personality and joy of living fully reflects through her approach. She tells how to share that joy with your child. Parents, older children, teachers and volunteers will be caught up in the process of getting children to love reading by using relevant and meaningful real life experiences, along with suggested books. Esme Codell makes it easy to find superb children's book titles and activities to match a child's interest. It took only an hour to peruse and learn how to navigate this magnificent reference book full of lists, ideas, encouragements, tips, crafts, and so much more. Thematic learning is the ultimate way to capture children's interest. Codell offers multiple themes from science, history, fairy tales, party ideas, to traveling and so much more, all featuring many choices of books. There are even sections for the newborn, the emergent literacy reader all the way to the older child. This book is the perfect compliment to the book I authored, 'You Can Teach Someone to Read.' 'How to Get Your Child to Love Reading' is a 'must-have' book for every parent, grandparent and teacher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2003

    The most wonderful book about kids' books ever

    The review I just read was right--this IS like having a personal librarian in your own home. Ms. Codell is a charming, witty, and wise writer and expert in children's literature. It's not only fun to read, it's full of clever ideas and activities for parents, kids, teachers, child care providers, youth workers--anyone who has kids (even older schoolage kids ) in his/her life. I am a bookaholic and I have bought all the books on the market about kids' books--and there's nothing like this new one. For the holidays and birthdays, I plan to buy this for all the moms and teachers I know.

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