Today I am going to bring you another in my book review series. The title of todays book, The Read Aloud Handbook: sounds really dull doesn’t it? But I am here to assure you that this book is anything by dull. It was written back in the 70’s and yet it is still survives and thrives, now in its 6th edition. The content is as relevant today as it was the day it was written.
I actually started my journey to Jim Trelease’s Handbook by accident. His was not the original book that I set out to review. I was scanning around on Amazon for interesting titles, the way I usually find new books, and I found a book called Book Love by Melissa Taylor. It sounded interesting and I thought it might be helpful for parents sooo, I took the plunge and downloaded it for a book review. Well, I would say plunge is an appropriate description. The book is more like notes from an elementary school education class than a book. I expected a convincing description about how important reading is to the intellectual development of our children, instead I got a skeleton outline of ideas to increase a child’s interest in reading along with lists of warning symptoms that a child may have a vision problem, ADHD, or Learning Disabilities. I found it difficult to read because of its lack of description and insight. I gave this book a 1/5 Doc Smo stars. I don’t think it would be very useful for parents and I found it very dull to read.
Then I remembered a book that I had seen back when I first went into practice back in 1982. In fact, I owned the book and it was buried in my wife’s extensive book collection. Somewhere in my subliminal brain I remembered this book as important because not only did I remember that it existed, but I remembered the author’s name, a very unusual thing for me. So once again, I hit Amazon for the latest edition and boy am I glad I did. I can see why it’s in its 6th edition. A Classic: interesting, extremely informative, inspiring and dare I say, life changing. Every parent needs to read this book. Let me repeat that… every parent to be and parent needs to read this book.
In his handbook, Mr. Trelease, a journalist by trade, makes a incredibly strong argument that reading to your children even before birth and into their teens, is one of the truly great gifts you can give them…and yourself. The author spends the first half of the book giving his readers an understanding of how important reading is to developing language skills for children by sighting key research in child development and child literacy. I found these studies fascinating to hear about and they seemed to reinforce what I have seen during my life… literate adults tend to raise literate children who, more often than not, succeed in life. He sites studies that starkly point out how children who are read to regularly hear richer and more diverse language during their childhood than those children who are not read to regularly. Good language and reading skills sets the stage for academic and subsequent financial success in life. It’s that simple.
In the second half of the book, Mr. Trelease lays out, age-by-age the mechanics of how to make books a vibrant part of your children’s lives. He even goes so far as to include a list of his favorite titles to consider reading aloud to your children, age by age.
In my opinion, the Read Aloud handbook is a CLASSIC discussion of language, learning, and reading in your child’s life. I gladly give it my highest rating, 5 DocSmo stars on a scale of 1-5. I encourage everyone listening to give it a read: I am certain you will be glad you did.
As always, I welcome your comments and insights on my blog, www.docsmo.com or post a review on iTunes or Facebook.
This is your pedcast host, Dr. Paul Smolen, who feels it would be a crime, for you not to read to your kids all the time.
also known as Doc Smo by his friends, is a pediatrician with 34 years of experience caring for children and families. He is a graduate of Duke University (1974), Rutgers Medical School (1978), and Wake Forest University-N.C. Baptist Hospital (1982). At Wake Forest University he completed a residency in general pediatrics, served as chief resident, and completed a fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics. Subsequently, he became board certified in the American Academy of Pediatrics (1983) and completed his MOC in 2014. For the last 34 years, he has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, helping to train a generation of medical students and pediatric residents as well as author several research papers. He is also the author of a new parenting book called, Can Doesn’t Mean Should. He is currently a practicing pediatrician in Charlotte, NC.
With 34 years under his belt, Doc Smo is a bona-fide expert in knowing what parents want and need to know about parenting and child health. Imparting practical and useful advice is the goal of every “Pedcast”. Smiling along the way can’t hurt!
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