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How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life [Paperback]

Paul Kropp

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Product Description

From Amazon

The news about children's reading is not good. Only 45% of fourth graders read for pleasure and by twelfth grade, only 24% find joy in reading. But Paul Kropp, a teacher for 20 years and author of young adult novels, has better news: the road to reading can be paved by parents because "reading is not a skill, it is an attitude." How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life is a wonderfully practical primer about how families can discover the joy of reading together.

Kropp grounds his suggestions in the intriguing premise that reading is a social activity. He offers a crash course in "two thousand years of reading out loud" noting that for most of recorded history, reading silently was unusual and reading aloud was the norm. For example, medieval kings and queens had manuscripts read to them, St. Augustine read to the Benedictine monks, and Englishmen gathered in pubs for a reading of the latest installment of a Charles Dickens novel. Kropp urges parents to begin reading aloud to their babes in arms and to never stop reading together.

Kropp packs every page with energy, fresh ideas, must-read book lists and nongimmicky "reading solutions." He offers parents a "three R" model (read with your child every day, reach into your pocket to buy books, rule the media). Several chapters are devoted to the developmental ages and stages of reading--beginning with floating vinyl books in a baby's bath and ending with ideas for engaging what Kropp calls "aliterate" teens who can read, but don't. Other sections explore specific reading challenges including bored readers, reluctant readers, gifted readers, reading slumps, and "dysteachia" (bad teachers).

Kropp believes that reading should be a birthright for all of our children. The beauty of this book is that every chapter helps parents to deliver on this promise. Just imagine what might happen if a copy of How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life accompanied every newborn home from the hospital. --Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

From "infant reading" (for even three-week-old babies) to tips on how to overcome inevitable reading slumps, Raising a Reader: Make Your Child a Reader for Life by Paul Kropp is packed with practical advice, including book recommendations, suggestions for reading-related activities and observations on recent trends in reading education. (Doubleday/Main Street, $12 paper, 224p ISBN 0-385-47913-1, Jan.)
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Kropp's Raising a Reader warned parents that "theories and procedures come and go," while the only proven path to reading proficiency is consistent application of the three Rs: read with your child every day, reach into your wallet to buy reading materials, and rule the TV. Ironically, this newly titled edition repeats that warning while basing its few substantive changes on some of those ephemeral theories. Kropp, a teacher and author of young-adult novels, introduces the concept of phonemic awareness but does little else to update the text. Readers may quibble with his "must-have" lists, which have shrunk from 15 to ten titles a piece, but what library staff may find most troubling is his statement that these books are worth buying or "borrowing for keeps." While either edition will provide excellent guidance and encouragement for parents, their academic value is diminished by the author's informal citation methods. Purchase accordingly.DSusan M. Colowick, North Olympic Lib. Syst., Port Angeles, WA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"If you are a parent, you need to read this book." -- Robert Munsch

From the Back Cover

"If you are a parent, you need to read this book." -- Robert Munsch

About the Author

Paul Kropp is the author of The School Solution and I'll Be the Parent, You Be the Kid, as well as more than thirty books for children and young adults. His work has been published in Canada, Britain and the United States. Kropp is a teacher, editor and the father of five children. He lives in Toronto.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Let me repeat: if you've been reading regularly with your child, if you talk together regularly over breakfast and dinner, if you model the enjoyment of reading yourself, then your child will most assuredly learn to read. You don't need to buy special reading programs advertised on TV, or pick up the latest instructional CD-ROM for your computer, or follow any program of instruction at home. Follow the three Rs in this book and your child will become a reader.The problem that I hear again and again from parents is that they are anxious about their child's reading. She seems to lag behind the other kids at school, or lose interest when we read together at night, or not be reading as well as her older sister. Often these "reading problems" are nothing more than a combination of parental anxiety and unfair comparisons with other kids. We must always remember that children have their own timetables of development. Parents should know, too, that second and third children rarely develop their reading skills as quickly as did the first child. But there is no particular advantage, long term, in a child reading by herself early on-and there is considerable disadvantage for any family where the kids are compared to each other or to the seemingly model child next door.Nonetheless, parents going through this book want to give their child every possible break in developing her reading. Rightly so. Just as there are activities in school that do work well in developing reading skills and some that don't, so there are good and bad activities for building your child's reading skills and attitudes at home.Let's start with a list of what you should be doing:-Do continue reading with your child every night. By and large, you'll be doing the reading aloud, but your child will frequently become more involved at this stage.

-Do remember that reading time is play time: games, songs, stories, and talk are as important as the reading of words on a page.

-Do encourage phonemic skills in your readingplay time: songs, rhymes, limericks, clapping, dancing-all offer a reading payoff.

-Do encourage word recognition and sounding out wherever you can: words on the fridge, picture dictionary books, sing-alongread-along tapes.I'll come back to all of these ideas, but first let me offer a list of cautions:-Don't force an organized reading program. Whether it's a set of flashcards or computer instruction, it's too early for these mostly phonics programs. And there's a real danger that pushing such a program, prematurely, will hurt your child's attitude toward reading.

-Don't turn reading time into a work-study session. You will get more long-term reading advancement from games and stories than from a rigorous study of word segmentation. And there's no point in asking a young child "comprehension" questions to see if she's paying attention. You'll know by the wiggles.

-Don't let a slightly older brother or sister take over reading. Sibling rivalry is such that a child who is four or five years older can take on quasi-adult responsibilities like nightly reading without much danger of claiming the territory for herself. But don't let your seven-year-old son start showing off his reading skills while your five-year-old daughter is still struggling with her first steps in reading. That's a recipe for disaster.When you and your kindergarten child read together, chances are good that your child will do "pretend" reading long before she can actually decode words. Children who have been read to by parents frequently like to turn the pages of a book and tell the story themselves using the same vocal tones and language that you do.According to one authority on early reading, there are a number of stages in this storybook retelling. Often it begins when your child simply describes the pictures on each page. Later, she may create a story based on the pictures in the book or on some remembered bits of the actual story. The third stage, a real crossover to decoding, is one where your child will create a story that is influenced by words and phrases from the actual text. The fifth stage is when your child begins struggling much more with the words on the page-remembering some, figuring others out from visual clues, sounding out some, guessing at others.Much parental anxiety comes from the fourth stage-the one I skipped up above. In this stage, your child may suddenly refuse to try to read at all. No explanation. No excuses. Just no reading. This stage rarely lasts for more than a few weeks, and it happens for a very good reason. Suddenly your child realizes that the story is all there, on the pages, and that she can't read it all, or read it very well. The frustration causes many children to simply stop reading: "No, you read it, Mommy." And you should. As your child's confidence grows, she'll tackle reading again.The read-it-again phenomenon is also a key feature of reading together with four- and five-year-olds. While you'll likely get bored reading the same handful of books night after night, your child loves the predictability of these favourite books. These are the books she'll memorize. And these are likely the first books she'll "read" all by herself.(c) 1993, 2000 by Paul Kropp

First published by Random House of Canada in 1993 under the title The Reading Solution
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