Off the Shelf

Raising a Teacher

One of my favorite topics to discuss in this column is reading and how simple it is to encourage your child to become a good reader and enjoy reading for pleasure.

Reading aloud to a child is the single most important factor in raising a reader. At least 15 minutes a day either at home or at school is more effective than worksheets or any other method of reading instruction, according to Jim Trelease in his book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook.”

You can discover how to teach children to want to read and why it is so important. Included is a beginner’s guide to recommended read-aloud titles, from picture books to novels, to help busy parents and teachers get started. Not every book makes for a good read-aloud experience.

There are so many wonderful true stories in the book of parents, teachers, and other adults who have made a difference in children’s lives by instilling in them a love of reading. His message: Begin reading to your child 15 minutes a day from the day s/he is born, and don’t stop when s/he learns how to read. It’s not too late to begin this daily ritual, even if your child is now in middle school. Picking the right books for the child’s age and interest is the key. If you have children of widely different ages, different books may be needed. Children can understand a story on a higher reading level than they can read themselves.

Mr. Trelease has found considerable research showing that reading aloud to children improves their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, and their attitudes about reading. It also develops the important quality of compassion for other people and for all life.

All anyone needs is a library card and the determination to invest time in a child’s future. It’s inexpensive and enjoyable for both adult and child. I know of many parents, teachers, grandparents and caregivers in our community who do regularly read aloud to children. Library card accounts are free! Adults need to bring in their picture ID and local address verification.

If adults in the family need to improve their own reading skills, our community has the Literacy Council of IWV volunteers who will assist you. The person to contact for assistance is Joy Young at 760-446-5227.

Many of Jim Trelease’s recommended read-aloud titles are also in the library. The books that are not on our shelves may be requested from other libraries easily. Requested titles take a few days to arrive, and there is no charge for this service!

Come in, check it out and make reading aloud part of your family life.

The Ridgecrest Branch Library is located at 131 E. Las Flores Ave. Library hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m, and Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information about library services call 760-384-5870. You may also visit the Kern County Library’s website at where you may search the library catalog, place holds, check on your account, renew materials, use several subscription databases and much more.

Story First Published: 2012-11-07