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, July 24, 2013

Take it From an Expert: Reading Aloud Costs Nothing But Time

Did you know that a seventh (and final) edition of Jim Trelease's The Read Aloud Handbook has just been published?  If you read my very first blog post, you know that this book helped me immensely as I ventured into the arena of libraries and reading aloud with my own children.  It was our treasure map to books, where some our first discoveries included My Father's Dragon,  Ira Sleeps Over, Kermit the Hermit, and The Stories Julian Tells.

"Mother Goose Stories" (Frederick Sands Brunner 1886-1954)

Three decades have passed since The Read Aloud Handbook was first published in 1982.  So who is Jim Trelease?  He's a dad (now a grandfather) and retired journalist, artist, and lecturer who is passionate about reading aloud to kids...
This is the edition I had, printed in 1985
True story: One afternoon, a few years after discovering Mr. Trelease's book (thanks to my mother-in-law, who was a first grade teacher at the time), I came across a magazine article that really frustrated me.  It was written by a mom who had basically given up reading to her son because he didn't like it!  I think she sarcastically mentioned some classics and how only girls like them.

I wrote a letter to the editor about how Jim Trelease's book had helped me.  My letter was published, and one afternoon I heard a voice starting to leave a message on our answering machine (we screened all our calls during our homeschooling years):  "Hello, Wendy.  This is Jim Trelease calling..."  

I picked up the phone immediately.  Jim's adult daughter had seen my letter in the magazine and had told him about it.  He was calling to thank me.  Of course I thanked him! (My kids still tease me about how long I left that message on our machine!) 

Here's an excerpt from the introduction to the seventh edition of this invaluable book:

In the thirty years since the first edition of this book, much has changed in the world, as well as in American education. And so, too, the book has evolved. 

Back in 1982, there was no Internet or email, no cell phones, DVD players, iTunes, iPods, iPads, Amazon, e-books, Wi-Fi, or Facebook. The closest thing to an "instant message" was a facial expression that exasperated mothers gave their children. "Texting" was something you did on a typewriter. The first CD player was just going on sale, Starbucks was just a coffee-bean shop in Seattle, and if you said "laptop" to people they'd have thought you were talking about some kind of TV-dinner tray...

Want more?  The Read Aloud Handbook, 7th Edition, is now available, with revised and updated chapters, and the ever-valuable "Treasury of Read-Alouds" (over 300 recommended books!) at the back of the book with nine categories of books and their descriptions, listed alphabetically by title.  There is also an author/illustrator index.

Chapter titles include:
Why Read Aloud?
Digital Learning: Good News and Bad News
Dad - What's the Score?
A Hyper Kid's Road to Reading

Can't wait?  Before you get this new edition from your bookstore or local library, you can peruse Jim's excellent website at no charge - here.  
Didn't we tell you? Reading aloud costs nothing but time!


  1. I fondly remember that book, and I recently was told by a friend that she learned from me to read more than once a day (all through the day instead) to small children and babies.

  2. these books sound wonderful! I think reading aloud does so much-- it not only inspires a love of reading, but it gives the child some real quality time with their parent. My husband has read to my daughter every night since she was very tiny-- and she loves that time and attention (she's been home with her mean ol' mama all day by that point, haha!) now she's about to enter 1st grade where they really start reading and we're expecting our new baby and she's excited to be able to read to him when he comes. Love that!~

    And how COOL that he called you on the phone! I would have freaked out! ;)