How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure ISBN: 9780692986370, Linland Press, by Kaye Newton.
The author has dedicated this book “To Rick, and everyone who promotes reading” and quite frankly has tackled a subject that has been frustrating educators particularly for many years. As she quotes, the gradual acceleration of amount of homework, acquisition of smartphones, boy/girlfriends, sports, jobs, college preparation and more seem to have resulted in only 17 % of 17-year-olds vs. 53% of 9-year-olds who today are daily readers. Also, the proportion of children who “never” or “hardly ever” read has tripled in the last thirty years. So, from the very personal position of being faced with the problem, she has approached the subject in a truly thoughtful and remarkably thorough manner. Following a fact filled Introduction, the book is split into 2 parts. The first includes a review and offering to firmly grasp and understand reading motivations and challenges; Why you should encourage children to read for pleasure; Understanding types of readers and promotion of the activity; Reading and learning differences and What counts as “real” reading. Part Two really gets into the ‘nitty-gritty’ of this really horrendous problem by describing the “Carrying Out a Reading Project”. Here, seven more detailed chapters introduce Reading for pleasure and ways to approach the tough job of ‘selling its benefits’; Finding the right book as a ‘hook’; Providing access to and making more interesting, this activity area; The very difficult problem of whether or not to provide rewards; Summer reading and travel; What to do about ‘pleasure reading’ with return to the active school year; and still four more chapters with important considerations. There follows even more important suggestions in an Epilogue and an excellent list of Resource books and websites to add to the already wonderfully detailed lists provided within the chapters themselves that split suggested books/magazines and websites for readers by age; e.g. 10 years and up, 12 years and up, etc. to teenagers and Young Adults.
Summary: The author courageously has attacked a significant problem facing much of today’s ‘TV/technically oriented play station children’. And I say courageously when thinking about the suggestions spread through the text such as limiting hours of technical equipment usage by the “screen-loving kids” and other thoughts. Her suggestions in Chapter 12 on ‘Fake News’ are particularly appropriate when one recalls an unbelievable news report this morning that a man who does not believe in the Holocaust is a candidate for election to the United States House of Representatives. We can only assume (hope?) that this is an example of the fake variety she discusses in this Chapter entitled “Reading Real and Fake News: Why You Should Care Whether Your Kid Can Tell the Difference.”
5* Highly recommended for all parents and teachers.