When I read the first few pages of this book, I got excited. REALLY excited.
With every passing word, it seemed as if this author was reading my mind! It was like my thoughts were there for all to see, only with solid research to back them up.
You see, during the past 15 years, I've developed my own philosophy of teaching, learning, and literacy. My children and the students and teachers I observed within a variety of school settings were my subjects. Every interaction and observation became valuable research for me.
I wanted to share what I had learned, and hence started writing this blog; but without some kind of more extensive research, I was hesitant to do so. Instead, I decided to SHOW people my philosophy, rather than tell them about my experiences.
When I finished reading this book (which I couldn't put down, and finished within hours), my excitement turned to anger, however. Why had I not known about this book sooner, given the fact that I'm constantly at the library and book stores? The very first edition was published 30 years ago! It was updated every few years, with the latest edition being published in 2006.
The (STILL) revolutionary book I'm talking about is The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition, by Jim Trelease. It's not just a handbook, though. It's a philosophy to live and teach by. The general idea of it may be simple, but it's one that seems to be difficult for many people to understand: the single most important component of literacy is reading aloud to children, starting at a very young age. A love of reading can be established way before a child even enters school and begins the formal process of learning to read.
I can't say enough about this book, and I certainly can't even begin to write a complete review in just one post. So, I've decided to write a series of posts in which I reflect upon different components of it. I have so many post-its marking the spots I want to write about.
The Read-Aloud Handbook touched my heart, and I wish that every new parent, grandparent, teacher, librarian, principal, and politician could read it. It's about so much more than the title implies. I truly believe that it has the power to change the world, one reader at a time.
So, whether you've read this book before or not, I hope it touches you the way it touched me, and that you share it with everyone you know. Everyone, that is, who cares about children and the future of our country.
Here are links to related posts in this series: