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Raising Readers - Subtle Encouragement
July 21, 2009

My name is Steve Barancik. Welcome to Raising Readers, the official newsletter of Best Children's Books.

Our goal: to help YOU raise better readers.


1) More Important Than Ever to Save Money on Books

I consider books a necessity, but even I have to admit they rank behind food and shelter. Let's take a look at ways to save.

20 Ways for Parents to Encourage Reading, Courtesy of Reading is Fundamental

The good folks at RIF have some great ideas about what parents can to do encourage reading. I guarantee you haven't tried all twenty!

3) I'm So Glad (All 25,000 of You) Dropped By!

My mother taught me what makes a house a home. Welcome to my online home.

Functionality Alerts!
If any links in this newsletter don't work, it's probably because your email software cuts off the link text at a line break, then prints the rest of the link as plain text. To use one of these links, try copying the WHOLE link then pasting it into your browser.

This email was designed to be read in an email reader that reads html. If you don't have one or yours is turned off, this letter might not look great but I'm guessing you're still smart enough to make sense of what I'm saying!

1) More Important Than Ever to Save Money on Books

Okay, let's talk about saving money on books.

Never forget the library! You'd be surprised how often people do. You can take books out, you can read them there. You can attend a reading time with your young ones. You can get reinforcement from others on the importance of books. A visit to the library is an outing. In fact, it's a shopping trip where you don't have to pay for anything!

Want to make your library trip REALLY productive? Try this 3-step process...

  1. Visit our book reviews page and make a list of GREAT books you think your child will love.
  2. Visit your local library online. If a book you like isn't on the shelves at your local branch, most libraries will let you reserve it. That means they'll send it to YOUR branch and have it waiting for you!
  3. A few days later, go visit the library and check out all your chosen books.

If you're willing to pay to own children's books but you want to keep costs down, there are a few pages on the site you should visit. But start at the Discount Children's Books page. Here's what you'll find...

  1. A search box for my favorite discount book vendor.
  2. See the "prefer to browse" link in the search box? Browse categories for that same vendor.
  3. A link to my "How to save on textbooks page." If you have a kid in college, no wonder you don't have much money to spend! Click this link!
  4. Keep reading. Lots of other ideas (and links) on getting books cheap.

Important tip: when buying books online, always try to buy a bunch from the SAME seller. That's how you keep shipping costs from eating you alive!

Books - the cheaper you can get them, the more you can afford.

20 Ways for Parents to Encourage Reading
from Reading is Fundamental

It's easy to say, "My child just isn't a reader." But your influence can make a difference. Here are 20 ways that Reading Is Fundamental suggests parents can have an influence.

Where there's a page at Best Children's Books (or somewhere else) that can help, I provide a link!

  • Scout for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points. Browse subjects at Amazon
  • Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home.
  • Notice what attracts your children's attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.
  • Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.
  • Take your children to the library regularly. (Library locator.) Explore the children's section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.
  • Present reading as an activity with a purpose; a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child's collection, or planning a family trip. (Meet WorldCat; search libraries all over the world!)
  • Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.
  • Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions. (Games and more on this page.)
  • Perhaps over dinner, while you're running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.
  • Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork, the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child's skills and habits.
  • Read aloud to your child, especially a child who is discouraged by his or her own poor reading skills. The pleasure of listening to you read, rather than struggling alone, may restore your child's initial enthusiasm for books and reading.
  • Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book. When children read aloud, don't feel they have to get every word right. Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.
  • On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child's current interests.
  • Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.
  • Introduce the bookmark. Remind your youngster that you don't have to finish a book in one sitting; you can stop after a few pages, or a chapter, and pick up where you left off at another time. Don't try to persuade your child to finish a book he or she doesn't like. Recommend putting the book aside and trying another.
  • Treat your children to an evening of laughter and entertainment featuring books! Many children (parents, too) regard reading as a serious activity. A joke book, a story told in riddles, or a funny passage read aloud can reveal another side of reading.
  • Extend your child's positive reading experiences. For example, if your youngster enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, follow up with a visit to a natural history museum. (Find local museums!)
  • Offer other special incentives to encourage your child's reading. Allow your youngster to stay up an extra 15 minutes to finish a chapter; promise to take your child to see a movie after he or she has finished the book on which it was based; relieve your child of a regular chore to free up time for reading. (Movies based on children's books.)
  • Limit your children's TV viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading. But never use TV as a reward for reading, or a punishment for not reading.
  • Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family's busy day.

Great ideas, huh? Thanks, Reading is Fundamental.

3) I'm So Glad You Dropped By

I'm going to take the liberty of telling you something nice about my mom.

When I was a kid, my home was the most popular gathering place for my friends. More often than not, when we gathered, my friends chose to gather at my house. Same for my siblings.

My mother had a knack for making people feel welcome. It starts with just being glad to see people.

About 25,000 people a month visit Best Children's Books. The overwhelming majority of them come and go without me "meeting" them (though some write and say Hello, and I love them for it!), but I'm still pleased to have hosted each and every one of them.

I hope they felt welcome. I hope they felt someone real was talking to them. And I hope something I offered or suggested helped them cement their children's lifelong love of reading.

It's great to have a home - even an online one - where you can share what you love with others. And I'll admit it's not entirely selfless: by creating this site, I've given myself reason and incentive to rediscover books from my childhood and share them with others. Here's an example...

In the last year, 92 Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books were sold through this site! I get a big grin on my face just thinking of all the kids who were treated to one of my childhood favorites through my efforts. I hope they pass her on to their kids!

The nice thing about an internet home is there's plenty of room for each of those 25,000 visitors. (When I write to you next year at this time, I hope I'll be able to report 50,000 visitors.)

Do you love something as much as I love reading and children's books? Would you like people stopping by, sharing what you have to offer on the subject, and leaving with a smile on their faces?



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Thank you for subscribing to and reading this edition of Raising Readers. If you have any comments or suggestions, I hope you'll contact me.

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