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Teaching Your Children Well Through Reading

by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

“The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is a man who’ll get me a book I haven’t read.” – Abraham Lincoln When you sit down to read with your child, you’re teaching her a lot more than how to recognize words and phrases. You’re teaching her to reach beyond the day-in, day-out routine of life; to enter new worlds and meet new friends. Reading can also shape your child in more ways than one. She not only learns how to read and write better, she’ll learn how to concentrate, recognize the subtleties of prose, and develop a variety of interests in many subjects. So, sit down with your little ones, crack open a new book, and lead them into the world of reading. American Family Day is slated for August 5th, and what better way to celebrate families than to read together with those you love most. Looking for some titles? Check out these possibilities for August:


Left, Right, Emma! by Stuart J. Murphy (Charlesbridge, 2012), $6.99.  Emma loves to march around her house.  But, before she lifts a leg, she has to know which one she’s lifting.  Is it left, or is it right?  Emma’s friends and Miss Cathy teach her what she needs to know to get the parade started.

Percy Listens Up by Stuart J. Murphy (Charlesbridge, 2012), $6.99.  Listening is sometimes hard for Percy.  Especially when he’s playing a super fun game.  Can Percy learn how to listen, so he can understand directions, learn new things, stay safe, and have even more fun playing a super fun game?  With a little help from his parents and teachers, Percy learns these skills so necessary in daily life.

Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn (Charlesbridge, 2012), $6.99.  Reading is a big part of Lola’s family.  When Lola’s family grows to include Baby Leo, Lola takes on the role of big sister.  She helps Mom and Dad around the house, and when baby Leo cries, Lola is right there to soothe him to sleep with a good story.  And, when Lola gets tired, Mommy always makes time to read her a special tale.


The Klampie Mystery by Luis Rodriguez (Mascot Books, 2012), $14.95.  Samantha Parker was so excited about their family vacation.  They were going to Australia!  Her dad bought Samantha something she could take on the trip, a life-sized koala bear, and he looked so real!  She named him “Klampie,” because he could clamp on to anything with his paws just like a real koala.  Samantha loved Australia, but she was often confused by the time difference and the weather.  When it was 6 am on one day in Sydney, it was actually 11 pm the day before in California.  And, it was Christmas, but it was so hot!  It’s no wonder she thought something magical happened on the trip.  Pick up this cute title to find out what “magical” thing happened to Klampie on the trip.


Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter (Knopf, 2012), $16.99.  A sweet, true story about a woman whose sense of adventure during a time women were expected to stay home changed America’s attitudes towards wildlife and endangered species.  Beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor-winning artist Melissa Sweet, this tale follows the 1934 journey of Ruth Harkness as she searched for and finds a baby Panda bear, Su Lin  (which means “a little bit of something cute”).

Secrets of the Garden:  Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld (Knopf, 2012), $16.99.  Follow along in this vividly illustrated book as a family works together to plant a new garden in their backyard.  Watch as Dad gets the soil ready, the kids plant the seeds, and Mom teaches them all to wait patiently as the magic of the garden unfolds.  Young readers will also learn gardening secrets like what makes good compost and what the leaves of different sprouts look like.


Sweetgrass by Mary Alice Monroe (Mira, 2010), $13.95.  Sweetgrass has been the family homestead for generations.  Life has begun here, life has ended here, and love has grown here.  But, Mary Jane and Prescott Blakely may be where the legacy ends.  They most certainly will, if Prescott’s sister, Adele, has her way and sells Sweetgrass and all the land to developers.  Can the low country legacy be preserved?  The task falls to son, Monroe Blakely, after Prescott has a massive stroke.  But, he hasn’t spoken to his father in years…

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Tags: Education, Featured Story

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