It’s summer and my kiddos pestered Dad all day yesterday until he broke down and took them to sign up for the Library’s Summer Reading Program and Barnes and Nobel’s Reading Program. I love that my children read. They read street signs, notes, books, anything and everything.
Not long ago, I finished reading WHAT TO READ WHEN: THE BOOKS AND STORIES TO READ WITH YOUR CHILD AND ALL THE BEST TIMES TO READ THEM by Pam Allyn. First off, I’m an advocate for reading. One of the platforms I wanted for my PTA Presidency was a Books for Birthdays program where children donated a book the school library on their birthday. Reading is a fundamental part of life.
I loved the introduction Pam Allyn writes in WHAT TO READ WHEN:
“The same way we choose foods to suit our moods–hot soup on a cold winter’s night, spicy ribs for a family picnic–we long to choose the ‘just right’ books that will match the moments we find ourselves in with our children.”
I can think back to the role books played in my childhood and in my own children’s day-to-day life. Reading has bonded me to my children. It has caused crazy looks as I rode a stationary bike in a gym, or sat at a table at work reading “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” or “Oliver Moon”.
I’ve rejoiced when my oldest passed me in reading level and comprehension. He was in Sixth Grade!
I can also tell you how thankful I am reading is far more powerful than a teacher. When Jake was in First Grade he was a reading fool. He LOVED to read and excelled at it. So much so that his teacher told him, “You need to slow down. You’re making the other children feel bad.” Jake kept reading.
I can tell you the moment my second child became passionate about reading. He was in Fourth Grade. It was April and he discovered Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.
One of the ideas Pam Allyn presents in WHAT TO READ WHEN is that we tend to select books defined by reading level. We have failed to see that a book is about so much more than reading development.
The book is divided into sections. The first part takes on “The Power of Reading aloud”. It explains the importance of why, as parents, we need to read aloud to our children. I’m an advocate for the 20 minutes a day reading. Just this past year I’ve seen the rewards of being committed to this. It’s the best 20 minutes of our day.
You’ll progress to “Great Read Alouds” for every age. In this section, Allyn writes about the kinds of books children love and at what age and stages they develop that appreciation.
In the final section, “The Emotional When: Fifty Essential Themes”, Allyn shares booklists to complement life’s moments: Birthdays, Falling Asleep, Adoption, Journeys, Feeling Silly, Loving Art, Bath time–it’s a comprehensive list. Each theme includes new titles as well as the tried and true. The themes allow you to explore a different way of reading, rather than by reading level and read for the emotional benefit a book can provide.
Allyn has taken the time to give a detailed summary of the books as well as ideas to start discussions.
This is where I felt the book was lacking. The summary of the books was far longer than the book descriptions. I also felt the lists were lacking. There is no Beverly Clearly–Ramona series, or Barbara Park–Junie B. Jones Series. There was no Roald Dahl–James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. No Judy Blume. No Harriet the Spy.
The book offers some great books to read and some great thoughts on parenting children to develop a love of reading.
What to Read When is a great resource and will give you insight into new authors and open new doors to discovering reading. It broadens the selection and allows you to focus on lessons that can offer support, advice, or just comfort in life’s situations.
Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for this post. I did receive a copy of the book from the sponsor in order to facilitate an honest review. The opinions are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Others experience may vary.