Review and Inspiration as a Parent and Teacher: The Read-Aloud HandbookThe Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
I was given The Read-Aloud Handbook when I was pregnant with my daughter Ryan almost 4 years ago. I keep this book on my bookshelf and pull it out every few months. The book is great for new parents, teacher, and parents of young children. The book focuses on the benefits and rewards of reading aloud to children. The book offers ideas and strategies to help children find true joy in reading.
Literary Facts and Stats– “America’s literacy crisis has reached epidemic proportions, with millions of children and adults affected each and every year by a never-ending cycle of educational disadvantage.”
As a teacher, these facts and stats ring true in the classroom.
Most students that are in the on-level classroom read below grade level.
Most students lack the basic vocabulary needed to be successful in the classroom.
Most students have not read a book for pleasure in many years.
Most students who fall behind in elementary school, enter high school so far behind they never catch up to grade level in reading, writing, and vocabulary.
Kids read all the time, right? They read text messages, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter.
Trelease makes the statement that “ Text messages are as close to reading as refrigerator magnets are- except magnet messages are usually spelled better and have longer sentences (Trelease 2).”
This is hilarious to me. Students think they are learning when the are being “entertained” by social media. They come to be in the classroom and can not write in formal writing. They also have trouble reading more than a paragraph at a time.
Back to the book.
Trelease recommends that we start reading to our children as soon as we start talking to them. Does that mean we need to reading while they are in the womb? Yes. He also outlines the stages of what types of books to read at each stage, including infants all the way to adults. He outlines the dos and don’ts of reading aloud. Here are a few examples:
Begin reading as soon as possible.
With infant and toddlers read books with repetition
Vary the length and subject
Use picture books
Adjust your pace to fit the story
Bring the author to life
Arrange time to read each day
Don’t read stories that you do not enjoy yourself
IF you are a teacher, do not feel like you have to relate every book to classwork
Don’t select a book that the children have seen on television
Don’t be unnerved by questions
Don’t use books as threats
The more books that are in a home or available for children, the more likely they are to have a high interest in books. If a child sees mom reading books, they will want to as well. Trelease gives many statistics on different climates that predict a high interest in learning, including the number books in a home, television hours watched, and the importance of male figures and their views on reading.
Trelease ends his book by giving us a list of books with summaries that explain exactly what age to start reading these types of books.
I highly recommend this book to all teachers, especially primary teachers, as well as parents.
It is never too late to start reading to your child, and apparently, it is never too early either. The Read-Aloud Handbook is definitely inspirational and educational.