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Read to Me by Gloria Rolton
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US$ 21.95
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I hope this book helps you to experience the delight that can come from sharing books with your pre-schoolers. It is the result of my experiences in bringing children and books together over more than thirty years. I began sharing books with primary school children but in recent years have worked with three and four-year-olds through a weekly storybook session. As a teacher in the late 1960s, I read to my class regularly. I knew they enjoyed it as we laughed together over such books as Muddle-headed Wombat or cried together over Storm Boy. I believed that this shared reading helped children to have a better understanding of how language worked. And it allowed me to introduce good books to developing readers who were not yet able to read them for themselves. Some twenty years later when I read of research in the United States that showed how children who were read to on a daily basis made great gains in a number of reading areas, I felt like cheering. In the 1980s, the reading programs in South Australian schools moved from using the old style readers and reading laboratories to using real storybooks and novels. Reading to children was an important component of this approach. At my school I often spoke to groups of parents about their role in reading to their school-age children. As part of this talk, I read the parents a story. I usually chose Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. The parents loved it and there was usually a number who asked to borrow the book. I pointed out that just as they enjoyed hearing a good story, so did their children, especially if it meant having Dad or Mum’s total attention. Many of those parents came back to tell me they were reading to their children and how much they were enjoying it. I believed then as I do now that parents reading to children is vital. Most kids eventually learn to read but not all turn to reading for pleasure. It is parents who can change this so that those who can read become those who do read. It was the arrival of my grandchildren that gave me the opportunity to extend my ideas about reading to a younger audience. I began to put into practice the ideas that I had read about in Dorothy Butler’s Babies Need Books. To see these little ones enjoying picture books and demanding their favourite stories even before they had fluent language was wonderful. From infancy they had access to good picture books and adults to share the wonder of books with them. My son-in-law was sceptical at first but was soon converted, especially when he saw his tiny daughter responding to an Anthony Browne book. Although he did comment once that if he had to read Mr Magnolia yet again, the book might come to grief! My youngest grandchild, Kane, is just two-and-a-half years old. Recently we videotaped him with Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy. He loves this and has learned the text of the whole book. He sits and turns the pages and ‘reads’ it. Already he understands that the story has a beginning and an end and that it flows from page to page. From the illustrations he knows the different doggy characters and relishes the climax where ‘Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town’ scares all the dogs and has them running off home. Like his brother and his older cousins, he will have no fear of learning to read when he begins school. It is possible that like his cousin Taylor he will be reading before he starts school. But helping with early reading is just one of the advantages that reading to toddlers brings. In this book I have outlined a number of advantages. However, the most important reason for sharing books with your baby, toddler or pre-schooler should always be pleasure. If you and your child enjoy sharing a book then the other benefits will follow.
Australian Council for Educational Research; Read online
Title: Read to Me
Author: Gloria Rolton; Michelle Katsouranis

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