Sunday, April 19, 2009

what to read when by Pam Allyn

I love finding out about great books from blogs I follow, it can be a dangerous thing because I have a few friends who are always sharing great titles. This book was one I read about just a few weeks ago at A Year of Reading and I knew I had to have this title. I thought it would be a valuable resource to have to help parents with reading at home and if a family needed a special title.

Now that I'm teaching kindergarten next year, I loved the book for many more reasons and thought about how I would use it to help my new community, children coming to school for the first time. In the first chapter, Pam Allyn says this.."I know that books and the ritual of the read-aloud do truly have the power to change the world." She consistently says how important this ritual is for homes and schools. Here's another quote from the book that I think is very important to ponder when thinking about community. "...rituals, bind us to one another and give us predictability, the kind of predictability that allows us to take risks and try new things." I want this in our home and in my classroom.

I think the first chapter is very helpful for parents and will help me communicate with parents about why we read aloud. She provides the reader with ten things reading aloud will do. I found her four keys to a lifelong reader to be simple, manageable as a mother and a teacher, and true based on my experiences. To become a lifelong reader there needs to be ritual, environment, access, and dialogue. Another chapter provides the reader with interesting children's literature history through what she refers to as landmark books that all children should be exposed to on their reading journey. I am thinking about displaying these books on mini easels and making them a focal point somewhere in my new classroom. I think this would be a great idea in the library too.

What makes this book a book you will return to weekly are the second and third sections. The second section provides a list of books that a child should hear read aloud based on their age. For example a six year old would enjoy books in the following categories; books about school and home, comfort books, books that cultivate imagination, and poetry books are just a few. The third section is a list of books based on fifty different themes. Each theme has books for emerging (0-4 yrs. old), developing (4 - around 7), and maturing (7 - 10). With each book title you will find a reason to read the book and brief summary. I am thinking I will start the year using books found in themes of being yourself, sharing, creating community,and making friends.

You can also find new books Pam Allyn has reviewed on her website.
Additional Note - This has become my new favorite baby shower gift with a couple of board books.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the blogging world! It is so fun that you are doing this!

    I love your post. I remember reading about it when Franki blogged but it's always great to see how multiple people view the same book. Sounds like a keeper!!