Friday, March 19, 2010

The Importance of Reading Aloud With Your Kids

My review of an enchanting book for (very) young readers (Piggie Wiggie’s Great Adventure) coincided with my finding a great review by Jen Robinson of Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook. This marvellous book should be mandatory reading for all new parents. Kids spend more time out of school (7800 hours per year) than in school (900 hours per year) so it’s illogical to place the burden of creating a love of reading in kids on the teachers’ shoulders. That role should begin with the parents.

Books should be in every household, and reading an entrenched part of family life. Parents can get their kids started while young, showing them just how much fun books can be, and just how much fantastic information is contained in books. But even more importantly, reading with your child will have the most beneficial emotional effects. Kids love doing things with their parents and reading, discovering an exciting story, waiting in anticipation to hear what will happen to the hero, is better shared in an atmosphere of loving familial warmth. Parents can assess their child’s emotional, mental, and spiritual development, and help them learn about life, (and sometimes death), decisions, and choices that will determine who they are in life and build their future. Children learn their moral and ethical guidelines early in life. Be there when they do!

In Jen Robinson's assessment of the book, she has this to say, “Among the many reasons to read aloud to kids, one of the most important is that it helps them to associate reading with pleasure. Human beings are by nature pleasure-centered—we will voluntarily do things repeatedly if we get pleasure from them. And because reading is an accrued skill, spending repeated time reading is what enables us to get good at it.”

Any parent keen to see their child excel in school and indeed in life should heed Jim Trelease’s words: "Reading is the ultimate weapon, destroying ignorance, poverty, and despair before they can destroy us. A nation that doesn't read much doesn't know much. And a nation that doesn't know much is more likely to make poor choices in the home, the marketplace, the jury box, and the voting booth. And those decisions ultimately affect an entire nation—the literate and the illiterate." (Page xxvi)

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce readers (young and old) to a special kind of hero. Aimed at ages 4-6, Piggie Wiggie’s Great Adventure is a daring tale of adventure, heroism, and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude. Family pet and escape artiste extraordinaire, Piggie Wiggie the Guinea Pig is out the cage and on the loose, ready for adventure. What an adventure it turns out to be as Piggie explores a brave new world. First up is a ride in a remote control toy car. Thrills and spills ensue with a happy, soft, safe ending in a pile of pillows. But wait! There’s more. Stuffed to the gills with a delicious (and illicit) feast of fresh veggies, Piggie has a close encounter of the soggy kind in a bathtub of water and more toys. Undaunted, Piggie Wiggie wriggles from one disaster to another, culminating in a sensational showdown with Scruffy the cat. What will become of this intrepid Guinea Pig, who should add ‘explorer’ to its name? Read on…

This book is a great read-aloud for parents and kids. It's a charming story for young children, made even more memorable by the fact that Piggie Wiggie’s adventures are based on the Houdini-like antics of a real family pet, a Guinea Pig owned by author and illustrator, M. J. Daley-Prado. This adds a delightful authenticity and will endear the story even more to young readers, especially those that enjoy a 'this-really-happened' tale. The author also includes some quite ‘big’ words in the tale and it’s an ideal opportunity for parents and teachers to begin expanding a young reader’s vocabulary by explaining the words. This talented author also illustrated the book and her captivating images of Piggie Wiggie in action make the story come alive, elevating this book to another level of enjoyment. An unexpected but excellent addition is a reading guide at the back for parents and children seeking a Guinea Pig as a pet. Topics range from caring for the new pet to dealing with the inevitable.

About the Author: M.J. Daley-Prado lives in Maryland with her beautiful teenage daughter and their newly adopted cat, Millie. M.J. has a genuine interest and love for children's literature. As a mom, she has always tried to instill the importance of books and reading in her own child. Books can take a child to magical places they have never been before. They can stir their imaginations and spark their creativity. She hopes her books will bring as much joy to your children as she has had making them. She has followed the amazing careers of her favorite authors and illustrators, Marc Brown, Robert Munsch, Elizabeth and Victoria Kann. M.J. especially likes to address topics that will help children and families during difficult times. MJ has written and illustrated several children’s books to her credit, including "Grandma What Is Cancer?" and "Buzz". Her favorite quote is: "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it." (William Arthur Ward)

You can discover more about this author by visiting: http://www.mjdaleyprado.webs.com/; http://www.authorchildrensbooks.webs.com/; http://mjdaleyprado.blogspot.com/

I first reviewed this book for Readers Favorite.
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