There is a cultural narrative afloat that the rise of e-devices is pulling children away from books. However, Jordan Shapiro, parent, academic, and a contributor to Forbes.com argues that it is not a battle between “paper is the good guy and Gorilla Glass is the villain.” When it comes to books most studies show that the delivery method is irrelevant. The point is that books are what matter; how kids read them doesn't.
Shapiro believes that the decline in the reading of books among children is due to our culture having become anti-academic and anti-intellectual. Adults are absorbed in their texting, social media, and emails; favouring blogs and magazines that are subtly self-promotional; and avoiding long-form written word.
Perhaps what we spend our time on demonstrates to our children what we value. It is up to parents to model the importance of book reading to children. In Shapiro’s household, being an adult means feeling comfortable with books, and maturity means having excessive familiarity with long-form written word.
Parents can encourage reading, according to the Common Sense Media report. Parents need to keep print books in the home, read books, and set aside time daily for their children to read. “Strong correlations exist between these parental actions and the frequency with which children read (Scholastic, 2013). For example, among children who are frequent readers, 57% of parents set aside time each day for their child to read, compared to 16% of parents of children who are infrequent readers.”
Teach your kids to read. Shapiro acknowledges it is easier to frame the story as paper vs. digital. It gives us permission not to engage with our kids. But parents need to take responsibility for raising thoughtful, empathetic, open-minded adults, and books are a crucial part of that equation. Even if we eliminated every kind of technology, kids won’t read books unless we show them in no uncertain terms that books are an important part of being an adult. We cheer small kids on to learn to read as quickly as possible. But as these children become adolescents they attempt to emulate adult behaviour – if adults don’t read books then trying to act like an adult means not reading books.
“At the end of the day, how our children read and what our children read says a lot more about adult
attitudes about books than it does about the kids.” We need to model the behaviours and attitudes we want our children to emulate.
Some useful titles to help parents and librarians engage their kids in reading books:
While most parents understand the importance of promoting literacy in their young children, they often aren't sure how to do it. This book provides guidance. Taking a "literacy-throughout-the-day" approach, the authors organize the book around spaces in the home-the kitchen, bedroom, living room, and so forth-and suggest fun, stimulating activities for building children's reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in those spaces. Filled with tips, photos, milestones to watch for, and great ideas to try today, Beyond Bedtime Stories is essential reading. For use with Grades PreK-K.
Bailey highlights more than 300 birth-kindergarten titles. Since children develop the critical language and early reading skills necessary to enter kindergarten between birth and age five, reading aloud is one of the most influential steps parents, and caregivers can take to foster preschoolers' literacy skills.Early exposure to books heavily influences vocabulary knowledge, which in turn improves later reading skills and helps foster lifelong literacy.
Keane uses her vast knowledge of children's literature to create book lists for children K-8th grade. They are broken into seven parts that are subdivided into subject areas: "Character and Values," "Literary Elements," "Family," "Genre," "Subjects," "Themes," and "Readalikes." Each entry includes the title, author, publisher, publication date, number of pages, an annotation, Lexile level when available, and interest level by grade or age range.
Identifying outstanding fiction and nonfiction titles, this practical book allows parents and educators to find engaging books for students in grades 6-9 that will help turn them into lifelong readers and learners.
This title covers over 1,100 books with broad teen readership, having a good mix of standards, classics, and newer titles. Part one, The Right Title for the Right Reader, lists the books by theme -Avid Readers, Book Haters, Graphic Novel Lovers, Offbeat Guys, Picky Senior Girls, Urban Teens; format - audiobooks, blogs, novels in verse; and theme and setting - bathrooms, insects, teen immigrants. Book annotations are organized into chapters covering dozens of hot topics, including: Teen issues (dating, peer pressure, suicide); Fantasy, horror, mystery and other genres; Family situations; Gender-specific literature; Religious and inspirational fiction; Pop culture; Screenplays, novels in verse, books with great beginnings; And more.
The titles have been selected primarily on the basis of reviews in Booklist, School Library Journal, VOYA, and other review journals. Arrangement is first by subject or genre and then alphabetically by author. In addition to author and title, each listing contains reading level, publication data, a brief annotation, Dewey decimal classification number, citations for reviews, and a symbol indicating the availability of an audio version. Author, title, subject and grade-level indexes complete the work.