The Read-Aloud Handbook

“The more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow” (The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease)

Even though I would generally consider myself to be a rather large proponent of reading, Jim Trelease is an even bigger one. In his non-fiction book about reading, he argues that reading aloud to children from infancy forms a strong connection between parents and kids, increases vocabulary, builds up attention spans, stimulates the imagination and helps the child to do better in school.  Equally unexpected is Jim Trelease’ adamant assertion that parents should never stop reading to their children. He considers reading small passages from excellent novels to teenagers to be a sort of advertisement, or commercial, for reading.

This book should be required reading for anyone having anything to do with children, or on second thought, perhaps it would be better to say that simply everyone should at least be familiar with its argument. Although I would consider myself a ‘heavy’ reader, it still forced me to ask myself a few difficult questions, especially concerning my T.V and movie watching habits.

The Read-Aloud Handbook is the first book I’ve ever read that declares, without hesitation or sarcasm, that reading is undeniably good. It doesn’t matter what you read, only that you do it, often, and with pleasure.

Beverage: In order to counteract the negative effects of spouting off random facts (i.e. the strange looks of the person sitting next to you on the subway as you ask, “Did you know, each daily hour of TV before the age of three increases the child’s risk of ADHD by 10%?”) you should probably be drinking something normal, like a cup of coffee.

Reminds me… of other excellent “Did you know…” books like Salt, by Mark Kurlansky or The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura.

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