Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


A recent report from Ontario, Canada, published by the research group People for Education, found that fewer school age children actually enjoy reading.  Below are some of their findings...

     "Literacy – alongside writing and math – has been at the centre of Ontario’s educational agenda for more than a decade. And while Ontario students’ literacy scores have improved during that time, something unexpected has also happened: There has been a dramatic decline in the percentage of Ontario students who report that they “like to read.”
     While the increase in Ontario’s students’ reading scores is to be applauded, the decrease in their love of reading is worrying. It is possible that our focus on targets for test scores and on the “mechanics” of literacy have had an impact on students’ attitudes.
     Regardless of form, reading for the joy of it, for its capacity to broaden our horizons, use our imaginations, think creatively, understand ourselves and others better, and feel engaged as citizens in the world – reading for all those reasons must be a vital component of what we encourage in our schools." [You can read the whole report, with statistics, HERE]

What can help stop this worrying decline?  According to the study, educators need to
1- give kids access to school libraries and librarians, and
2- encourage parents to "read with their children for pleasure" at home.

This is where I insert one of my favorite resources - for read aloud books that kids will ENJOY:
You can also visit Jim Trelease's website: Jim Trelease on Reading. It's a helpful resource for parents,  teachers, and librarians.


  1. A super new book about the delights of reading has just been published here in the UK - Stop What You're Doing and Read This! You can read an excerpt here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/01/michael-rosen-fathers-great-expectations?INTCMP=SRCH and next week it is book of the week on one of the BBC radio stations - you'll be able to listen online (anywhere in the world) once it's been broadcast.
    And thanks for the comment on my blog today!

  2. Thank you - sounds like a really good collection of essays!

    Love you blog. :)

  3. Hi Wendy,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for saying kind things! And thank you for reminding me that the Read-Aloud Handbook exists. My daughter is currently attending a small school where the assignment is to read 20 minutes a night, but it's just reading, not documenting (only the parent/guardian does that) number of pages,what was learned, etc. I really appreciate that approach. I just hate it when schools, in attempts to instruct effectively, suck all of the pleasure out of reading by insisting upon study questions and distractions from the texts. I get why they do that, but I don't think it's conducive to anything but answering test questions correctly.

    Anyway, it's good to meet you, albeit online. I'm going to add your blog to my RSS reader. --Farida

  4. Thanks, Farida. I'm following yours too. So happy to meet others who love enriching their children's minds and imaginations with good things.

  5. I'm really not at all surprised that the study in Ontario shows that the students are showing a decrease in their love of reading. Of course they would if they're being "forced" to solely focus on the "mechanics" of literacy. How many times when children are forced to do something, not out of its joy but out of a requirement, what else would be the intended result? They're going to dislike the thing that's forced upon them and literature would certainly--while unfortunate--be among anything that's potentially included. To be frank, I'm surprised that the so-called "mechanics " of literacy have increased based on what this study has determined. If they don't reverse course and let the children read more of what they like and less of what they don't like to do--both literacy and reading enjoyment would no doubt increase. It's simply human nature. For being school administrators, I'm very disappointed that they can't even see that 2+2 = 4.

  6. Well said, David. I would guess their scores on the "mechanics" of literacy have increased simply through repetition and memorization of the lessons (I think some of this can be done in a fun and very effective way).

    Yet I most heartily agree with you - exposing children to good books for pure enjoyment, will benefit their literacy skills (reading comprehension, writing, spelling, grammar), as well as fuel their imaginations. (Not to mention the history and science they can glean from some of the amazing choices out there in the kidlit world - a world to be explored not only by kids, but administrators, teachers, and parents!)