Jason Boog is a publishing industry professional, but like any other new parent, he wondered how he could best introduce his toddler daughter Olive to books. To discover effective and humane ways to engender a real love of interactive reading, he sought the advice of childhood development experts, children's librarians, authors, publishers of children's book publishers, teachers, and parents. From this hard-won wisdom and his own observations, he crafted this book of suggestions, step-by-step instructions, and reading lists. A fine tutorial for giving your children wings for their imaginations. Editor's recommendation.
Most parents spend time thinking about how to give their child a competitive advantage in our fast-paced society. Interactive reading gives kids a significant edge, writes journalist Boog, a former publishing editor at Mediabistro, where he was also lead editor of the site's GalleyCat publishing blog. He asserts that there is a right way to read to your child between birth and age five. For each year, Boog provides a reading list and specific storytelling lessons, which include key questions to ask children to scaffold understanding. The book's "Playbook" section has tips and conversation starters to help novices navigate the read-aloud experience. For the higher preschool levels, Boog shares how following these reading guidelines correlates with specific Common Core standards. The explosion of digital devices is bringing a new face to reading, and the author shares how to make ereaders, smartphones, and tablets complement rather than distract from the book experience. He includes digital resources, apps, and audiobooks. VERDICT Boog's work helps parents navigate the world of reading and harness the positive power of digital technology. Librarians, preschool teachers, and parents will find this a valuable resource for building childhood literacy. [See Prepub Alert, 2/3/14.]—Julia M. Reffner, Fairport, NY
Boog makes a strong argument for why caregivers of children ages birth to five need not simply read aloud, but also interact with children to ensure maximum nurturing and brain development. In fact, he states early on that "hospitals should be handing out interactive reading pamphlets along with diapers as new parents head home." He tackles the digital debate as well. While suggesting that parents try to adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics policy advising zero screen time for children under two years of age, he advocates that any time a child spends on an electronic device should be as interactive as possible. Calling his collection of reading/interacting strategies "the born reading playbook," the author gives practical and smart advice, along with explanations of the 15 skills detailed throughout the book—all without sounding preachy. While some of his ideas are commonplace ("ask lots of questions" and "read together"), other suggestions ("follow the things your child loves" and "guide your child beyond what they already know") might be novel ideas for parents unsure about how to effectively read aloud to young children. Each chapter lists 10 suggested books to share. Chapters are arranged by age, and as the levels increase, so too do Boog's suggestions for how to use books and digital devices. "Born Reading Bundles" are a combination of print books and multimedia activities to share with children. His conclusion focuses on the Common Core State Standards, noting that "parents will have to do more work outside the classroom to encourage…individual interests." He also notes that his born reading playbook skills tie into the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards. This will be a useful title for all libraries to include in both their parenting and professional reading collections.—Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
In his first book, former GalleyCat blogger Boog surveys current research on early childhood brain development and shares experiences of raising his daughter, Olive, to appreciate books from infancy. The result is a paean to the advantages interactive reading gives children by the time they reach preschool. Boog’s “Born Reading Playbook” contains many good ideas. He suggests that parents can engage young children with reading by extending the ideas in books to learning about the world in an age-appropriate manner. Although Boog does not object to electronic media, he does object to parents who use media and electronics as a babysitter, especially for children younger than two. His book, audiobook, and app recommendations are thoughtful, current, and specific; “Born Reading Bundles” suggest ways to combine books, new media, and conversation topics. The concluding comparison between kindergarten Common Core standards and the skills developed through interactive reading methods focuses on academic readiness and advantage rather than the love of reading. Despite the book’s strengths, Boog’s focus on the successes, but not the challenges, of his daughter’s experience, inadvertently makes him seem like a know-it-all rather than an educator or peer. Agent: David Patterson, Foundry Literary + Media. (July)
“A great resource for anyone who wants to help children love to read.”
"Offers insightful tips from Boog’s own experiences as a father as well as from researchers with decades of expertise in the fields of literacy, child development, parenting, and education. ...Packed with invaluable bits of advice designed to create curious, enthusiastic, and lifelong learners."
"I seriously don't have enough good things to say about this book. . . . He’s this generation’s Jim Trelease. This book is awesome, and I think it's one that should find its way into school curriculum for teachers and librarians."