Saturday, April 29, 2006

Read to the Kids

Jacqueline Wilson, the Children's Laureate in the U.K., recommends parents read to their children fifteen minutes a day until they are twelve years old. Sarah Cassidy covers the initiative for the Independent. Cassidy writes,
  • "Ms Wilson urged parents not to abandon story time. 'I want everyone to carry on reading to their children when they can read alone,' she said. 'Just because a child can read alone doesn't mean they won't benefit from still having a regular storytime with their parents. I was surprised how many people read aloud to their children until they are five or six and then stop.'"

I think it depends on the child, personally. Indeed, Wilson says parents need to continue to read to children because they, "are still reading with their finger pointing under each word and are not ready to go on to really long books even though they are intellectually ready for them. " That may be true in some cases, but in others--many children I know, for example--the jump to advanced reading takes place within the course of a year.

In any case, what I really liked about the article were the celebrity favorite read-alouds at the end of the article. Sheila Hancock, whom I admit I had to google to find out she is a well-known British actress, recommends one of my all-time favorite books, Not Now, Bernard, by David McKee. And Imogen Stubbs (another actress) recommeds Horrid Henry's Underpants, by Francesca Simon, for some really good reasons (more examples of why these books should be published in the States!):

  • "We have a nine-year-old son, Jesse, who is dyslexic and, until recently, was no more connected to books than a mole to the sky. And then we read Horrid Henry's Underpants to him. And he loved it. He immediately latched on to the characters and found them very funny."