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in an ezine


















Bronwyn Ritchie's Pivotal Points





Books and Reading




Science fiction for K-3

Scary books for Years 4 - 8

Books highlighting self-control

Series books for middle schoolers

[More kids' Booklists]



Sight Word Recognition

As you’re sitting here reading this article, chances are that you aren’t thinking for long about each individual word. You’re simply recognizing the words “on sight” because they are familiar to you. Hence, you are “sight reading”.

For children, sight word recognition is an important step to being able to efficiently learn to read. If they don’t have to stop and consider what each word is, they will have the freedom to comprehend the meaning and context of sentences and paragraphs. Consequently, it’s critical for parents, babysitters, guardians, grandparents and educators to help beginning readers learn to instantly identify words.







Helping Children Learn to Read

Helping a child learn to read, is a gift that will last a lifetime and takes a partnership that begins at home and continues at child care and in school.  Here you will find tips and information to help children build the foundation to learn to read.


How Can I Encourage My Child To Read?

"The majority of reading problems faced by today's adolescents and adults could have been avoided or resolved in the early years of childhood."
--National Research Council (1998)

As a parent of a young child, you are probably more concerned about your child's progress in reading than in any other subject taught in school. To achieve in math, science, English, history, geography, or any other subject, your child must have reading skills that are developed to the point that most of them are automatic. He can't be struggling to recognize words in a school textbook when he is trying to read quickly to grasp the meaning of the text. In other words, children must learn to read before they can read to learn.

Books for children tips _ Where to begin

To instill the love of reading in your children is one of the very first thing parents wanted to do. Once a child begins to read at an early age, the tendency is that he will have the love of reading for the rest of his life.


What Can Families Do to Keep Children Reading During the Summer?

As children's first and most important teachers, families have a major role to play in motivating children to read during the summer months. There are many strategies families might employ to encourage summertime reading. Here are tips offered by Reading Is Fundamental:

Teaching someone to handle a Book

In cultures that have had little or no exposure to books, handling a book properly is a skill that must be learned.


Character Is Destiny : Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember (Hardcover)


"McCain's latest volume uses biography as an illustration of virtue, but this time the senator broadens his palette significantly, telling 34 stories of heroes whose lives embody qualities ranging from honesty and loyalty to curiosity and enthusiasm. At the root of them all, he says, is a willingness to stay true to one's conscience against all challenges."

"Although he is reaching out to a younger readership, McCain's plain but sincere language does not condescend to his audience."

More information


Try RocketReader Kids

RocketReader Kids Free Trial

The ultimate child reading tutor. Ages 4 to 8.

Recommended Reading by Grade Level:

These are lists of books compiled by BOOKPALS from notable booklists from around the country.  As you may notice, many of these books are appropriate for more than one grade level. For book selection, they recommend that you refer to the appropriate list for your grade as well as lists for surrounding grades. Also, ask your local children's librarian for additional suggestions. 

Creating a Literacy-friendly home

Use the literacy checklist  to create a literacy-friendly home or classroom.  (This activity is provided by Get Ready to Read!  It aims for all preschool children to have the skills they need to learn to read when they enter school.)


Into, Through and Beyond

1. Get "Into" the book — This is where you introduce the book & develop a connection to the book before you read. Tell a personal story, use props, play music, start a discussion. Talk about the title, make predictions about what will happen in the book based on the cover art, write difficult words on the board (especially in language limited classes). If you are reading TOAD by Ruth Brown, you could bring in a book about real toads or ask, "How many of you have touched a toad?" Be creative.

2. Go "Thru" the book — Read using expression, voices, sounds, timing - make the story come alive! Whether you read straight through or stop occasionally depends on your style.

3. Get "Beyond" the book — talk about what happened in the book. Ask questions like "Did the story turn out the way you thought?" Discuss issues and/or the children's lives as a place to begin.  Relationships develop during "Into" & "Beyond". Literacy is modeled and language is developed during the "Thru" portion of your visit. Have fun!

Ellen Nathan,
BookPALS National Program Director

When it came time for her to pack up the books of her two children, she couldn't bear to part with them, especially the picture books. And that's when Dianne Ochiltree knew it was time to change careers and so she started writing children's books.

Dianne always has friends read her manuscripts out loud, so she can hear where they're emphasizing the words and what kind of natural rhythm the story takes. "You have to write for two audiences," she says, "not only the little ones, but also for their parents--because if the book becomes a favorite, their kids will ask them to read and reread it over and over again."

Her latest children's book, "Lull-a-bye, Little One," was just released this month and I have 20 copies to give away to readers. They each come with a "SHHH...Someone's Napping!" door hanger and a postcard that you could send to your grandchildren, niece or nephew to let them know ahead of time that you're sending a book in the mail.

To see a copy of "Lull-a-bye, Little One," and to enter the give away, go to:


How to Raise a Family & Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business (Paperback)
by Lisa M. Roberts

Well formatted and easily read, this is a must for any parent considering a home business. The author has drawn parallels between nurturing a business with that of raising a child. She recommends color-coding various areas of your business for task management, and offers practical business and home organizing advice. The references to her personal journal were a nice touch, allowing the reader to identify with the writer. This one was hard to put down!

This guide to entrepreneurship is full of practical advice, heartwarming essays, and bountiful resources. The author provides guidelines and frameworks to help parents methodically and sensibly transition their current careers to home-based entrepreneurial reality. She shows readers how to plan, initiate and manage a successful home business and household while reminding us to stop and drink in the richness of life at home with the children. An affirming and well-researched manual for anyone considering a home-based career.



All New Square Foot Gardening (Paperback)

by Mel Bartholomew

...anyone, anywhere can enjoy a Square Foot garden. Children, adults with limited mobility, even complete novices can achieve spectacular results. I've rarely seen a more reader-friendly book! It comes complete with layout pages, very concise planting guides, even planting time tables for your area and the amount of time you can store your seeds! If you have never gardened before or started a garden that eventually left you frustrated, then this is the book for you! I just think that you should check your area for agricultural grade vermiculite before you buy the book. But once that little snafu is over, you are going to be amazed at how brilliant and easy this book makes successful gardening. I highly recommend this method for busy people and parents like myself. It is wonderfully easy to maintain, makes loads of produce, and looks very attractive. Two green thumbs way, way up.

More reviews from Amazon where the book is selling for $13.59


Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz

 Politics, economics, greed, sex, cars—without them, matrimony wouldn’t have caused the historical revolution ensuing today, concludes social historian Stephanie Coontz, in Marriage, a History. Modern marriage is in crisis; but don’t pine for a return to "the good old days," when men earned money and women kept house. Don’t even assume the crisis is all bad. Coontz details how society’s attempts to toughen this institution, have actually made it more fragile. Her rich talent for analyzing events, statistics, and theories from a myriad of sources—and enabling the reader to put them all in perspective—make this provocative history book an essential resource.--Liane Thomas

 Based on extensive research (hers and others'), Coontz's fascinating study places current concepts of marriage in broad historical context, revealing that there is much more to "I do" than meets the eye. In ancient Rome, no distinction was made between cohabitation and marriage; during the Middle Ages, marriage was regarded less as a bond of love than as a " 'career' decision"; in the Victorian era, the increasingly important idea of true love "undermined the gender hierarchy of the home" (in the past, men—rulers of the household—were encouraged to punish insufficiently obedient wives). Coontz explains marriage as a way of ensuring a domestic labor force, as a political tool and as a flexible reflection of changing social standards and desires. She presents her arguments clearly, offering an excellent balance between the scholarly and the readable in this timely, important book. Agent, Susan Rabiner. (May)

She writes in a very readable style. You will find yourself quickly having read large passages of this book effortlessly. The book is informative, eye opening, and definitely well worth the read. I recommend this book if you want to see what the institution of marriage has been through out time and different cultures Stephanie Manley

More information

Tips for reading with your child (in 27 languages)
1. Spend time with your children talking, telling stories and singing songs. These are fun and important activities that help children get ready for reading.

2. Read to and with your children every day.  This shows that daily reading and spending time together is important.

3. Let your children help choose the books you read together. This will help keep your children's interest.

5. Change your voice and the pace that you read to fit the story. This makes the story more interesting for your children.

6. After reading a book, talk about the story.  Discussing the pictures and the main ideas in a book helps develop understanding.

7. Let your children see you reading books, newspapers, and magazines.  This sets an example for children that you enjoy and value reading.

8. Take your children to the library regularly.  Libraries are a wonderful place to find books and so much more



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