Raising Bookworms — And A Giveaway!

January 23, 2012

This is the first post in what will become a regular monthly feature on my blog, “In The Spotlight.” During the last full week of each month, I will devote all three regular posts to spotlighting the work of one particular author or organization, or will focus on one particular topic. This inaugural “In The Spotlight” week features a double focus (plus a bonus!)

One day last spring while I waited to board a plane in Minneapolis, I sat reading Emma Walton Hamilton’s book Raising Bookworms: How to Get Your Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment. A man sitting near me got my attention by asking, “Are you a teacher?” (No, although I certainly considered teaching as an option.) He then said, “I wish I’d had that book when my son was growing up.”

He told me that when his son was very small, he loved books. He loved being read to, he loved reading – until he got to school, where somehow he got the message that real boys don’t like reading. The man in the airport told me, with more than a tinge of regret in his voice, that his son was only now starting to read for enjoyment again. His son is 30.

I, too, wish that Raising Bookworms had been available to that man to counteract the wrong thinking that so influenced his son.

I’m featuring this book today for a couple of reasons. One I’ll get to shortly. First and foremost, this Friday, January 27th, is Family Literacy Day in Canada. In recognition of the importance of literacy, all my blog posts this week will focus on literacy, as well as turning the spotlight on literacy advocate Emma Walton Hamilton.

Raising Bookworms is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to make sure their kids (or grandkids, or others) grow up reading, and finding joy in reading.

I sometimes think I must have come out of the womb with a book in one hand, so I find it difficult to understand when kids say, “I hate reading” or when adults say, “I never read books.” But there are many who say these things. Emma has suggestions to help.

The meat of the book is in the section titled The Strategies, in which Emma looks at different ages/stages in a child’s life, and suggests both strategies for encouraging a love of books, and a list of books designed to appeal to a wide variety of children in each age group. The chapter headings themselves give you a good sense of the richness you’ll find in each chapter. (To me they also suggest that Emma was raised not only to be a bookworm like her mother, but also to be someone who loves gardening as much as her mother does!)

Babies and Toddlers: Sowing the Seeds for a Love of Reading

Preschoolers: Cultivating the Joy of Reading

Elementary School: Nurturing the Budding Reader

Middle School and Beyond: Deepening the Roots

Special Situations and Frequently Asked Questions (including “How do I Know if My Child Has a Reading Problem?” “ Reading to Older Kids” and “No Time to Read.”)

Emma writes in an approachable and enthusiastic style, and gives a wealth of suggestions that would be fun to do with your kids even if your kids are already voracious bookworms.

James Patterson said, in the “Praise for Raising Bookworms” blurbs, “Raising Bookworms does something rare – it recognizes that to get a kid reading means lighting an internal fire, not just applying an external push. This book shows you how to make reading a habit they’ll want to form all on their own.” James Patterson is, himself, an advocate for getting kids reading. The link behind his name will take you to his ReadKiddoRead website.

Are you wishing you could just sit down and read Emma’s book right now? Well you can. Almost. I have TWO copies of Raising Bookworms available to give away, and there are two things you can do to make yourself eligible to be part of the draw I’ll hold next Monday, January 30, 2012.

Each time you do one of these, your name will be added to the entrants’ list, and on Monday, random.org will help me select two winners. So the more times you participate, the more chances you have to win.

  1. Leave a comment, mentioning something that particularly resonated with you in the post, on any (or all!) of my blog posts from today up to and including Friday of this week.
  2. Write a post about literacy on your own blog, and link back to this post. Be sure to let me know, so that I can read your post, and so that I put your name on the entrants’ list.

Either of these will enter you in the draw for one of the two available copies of Raising Bookworms. Doing more will enter you more times (for instance, if you read and comment on all of the posts this week, you’ll be entered that many times). (Note: you’ll only be able to win one copy — once your name is drawn, it will be removed from the second draw, to give others a chance.) Through it all, we’re all supporting the cause of getting kids reading, and getting books into kids’ hands.

If you want to do something concrete to get books into kids’ hands (although this won’t affect your entries into the giveaway) I’d urge you to go to We Give Books (http://www.wegivebooks.org), sign up (it’s FREE), and read one of their ebook picture books. Simply by doing that, you will have enabled them to donate a book to a child who wouldn’t otherwise have access to books.

Okay, let’s raise some bookworms!

35 People reacted on this

  1. I love the We Give Books idea! Thanks so much for mentioning it! I hope fervently that in this age of electronics and multi-tasking kids will still manage to read books – in some form, whether it’s “real” books or ebooks – I think you would miss out on so much if you didn’t read!

    1. We Give Books is a fantastic way to donate books to kids — one can even target one’s donations to a specific area of the world, based on their current projects.

      Reading is key to a productive and well-rounded life, I believe.

  2. I’ve got a seven year old little one, my Chipmunk. i try to set an example by making sure she sees that I’m reading and setting aside reading time together, though not as often as I’d like. I’d better get our reading higher on my list of priorities as I learn to balance my writing and daily life. i really don’t want the words, “I hate reading” to come out of her mouth. So far, so good.

  3. I raised readers and thankfully, my children have too. If i were to win, I’d read the book then donate it to my small town library. I’ve heard so many people say that they have reluctant readers.
    Mona
    PS love your airport story!

    1. I’m so glad your kids and grandkids are readers! That must be gratifying for you. I’m delighted that you would donate the book to your local library — it would reach so many people that way.

      Thanks, Mona!

  4. Glad you shared Emma’s book, as it is very special and gives parents such wonderful tips. Like the father you described, I wished I had this book. My daughter loved reading, until she had to read by herself. Fine if I read to her.

    I love the We Give Books Away idea. Will certainly check it out. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Reading can so easily become a struggle and a chore for kids. I hope Raising Bookworms will continue to help parents keep the joy in reading for their children.

      Glad to hear you’re going to check out We Give Books. I think it’s marvelous!

      1. Yes, I did. Have already read and donated 8 books. It’s also a good way to look at the simplicity of some new books compared to those books that are classics like Jan Brett, which have a few more words. I had a lot of fun.

        1. Great! Yes, I have a good time on that site, too, and it’s great to know that our enjoyment adds to the number of kids who have access to books.

  5. This book so highly deserves promoting far and wide, Beth, so glad you have highlighted it again. I got our school librarian to get a copy to for parents. The book so clearly come from Emma’s passion and personal experience.

    1. Since I have a new blog, and somewhat a new readership — and had two extra copies of the book on hand — I thought it was a good time, and Emma’s the perfect person to inaugurate my “In the Spotlight” feature.

      I’m glad you have seen to it that the book is in your school library. Good for you!

  6. So glad you’ll be covering this topic, one that is near and dear to my heart as well. I’ve worked with kids who struggle to read. I’ve watched my own kids struggle with it as well and I’m glad to say my daughter ended up loving to read. I’m still working on my son.

    I’ve also posted about this from time to time on my own blog and I’m constantly on the hunt for great tid-bits and ideas to help parents help their children.

    Looking forward to what you have to say.

    1. Thanks, Jackie. I’m so glad your daughter now loves to read — all the best with working with your son!

      Emma’s book is filled with useful suggestions. I’ll be making a few suggestions as the week progresses, as well.

  7. Not sure I can elaborate on what others have said, other than to say I should get a copy to send to my sister-law in Australia who runs a pre-school care center. She loves reading, drawing etc… with the kids she minds.
    Emma’s book would be perfect for her.

  8. This sounds like a great book. My wife is a school teacher and this would be a great resource to have on hand to show parents that want assistance to improving the reading atmosphere in their home.

    1. Oh, super way to use the book, Eric! And you’ve just reminded me of something I need to put in tomorrow’s post — celebrating birthdays with Happy Birthday Author!

  9. Wow- it is so important to read to your children. My husband and I are currently reading the original stories of Winnie the pooh to our son…he is 3.5 but he loves the stories even when he does not have accompanying pictures. I would love to get this book to find more tricks to helping him and his brother love reading too. I know that for myself it was someone reading to me as a preteen that got me reading…I have dyslexia and it was not until I was thoroughly interested in a book and reader who was a teenage and lost interested in the story forced me to read it for myself…I became a Librarian.

    1. I’m glad you’re sharing the original Winnie-the-Pooh stories with your son (I have to admit that I prefer the originals to the Disney-fied versions!)

      Thank you for sharing your own struggles with reading with us — as well as the fact that you overcame the difficulty and went on to become a librarian! So good to hear!

      You’ve been entered into the draw for the book — the winner will be announced on Monday the 30th.

  10. As a substitute teacher for elementary and high school kids I can see the advantage of getting kids interested in reading at a young age. I feel so special when I am the teacher and reading to elementary kids (Kindergarten to sixth grade) because they stare at me in wonder and can’t wait for the next word! Really! They love stories, the imagination and yes, I step it up usually and ask them to imagine their own pictures in their head as I read – usually the younger ones are asked to draw a picture after the story. This is where you get their attention. Special ed is also part of subbing too and helping children one on one who have trouble reading but still enjoy the imaginative side is so worthwhile in keeping them interested in reading as they get older.

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy, for sharing your own experiences with varying age groups and ability groups. You are so right in saying that engaging kids’ imaginations is key.

    1. Thank you so much for writing that post and sharing the link here, Rena. I’ve just read your post, and I so appreciate you writing from the perspective of someone who struggled with reading.

    1. I am delighted that your boys are bookworms! They can start a trend.

      Thanks so much for posting about literacy — the more people who start thinking about it, the better. (And your post was excellent.)

      Tune in on Monday… er, that’ll be Tuesday where you are, to find out who won the copies of Raising Bookworms!

  11. […] I believe strongly that reading to children from the time they are infants — and even before they are born — is a key element in “raising bookworms,” a topic I discussed at great length in my posts about Emma Walton Hamilton’s book by that title in January. Although the giveaway I mention in this link is over, if you’re not familiar with Emma’s book, I urge you to check out this link. […]

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