by Jo Keroes
No one who reads Mommy Track’d (and consults our anti-Princess reading list ) needs to be reminded that reading to our kids is important or that encouraging them to become readers on their own is vital. But that doesn’t mean we always know how best to foster a real love of reading in those kids. One way is to let them select their own books. Another is to engage them in conversations about the books that engage them.
Diane Frankenstein’s new book, Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read , offers a process she calls “conversational reading,” refined over years of being a consultant about children’s literature to teachers and parents. Her method doesn’t just recommend books at every level of ability and emotional readiness, but also provides a series of questions for each designed to stimulate conversations linking the stories to children’s real life concerns. One must be careful about this: one of my own daughters once memorably urged me not to “ask me essay questions, Mom.” But Frankenstein’s cheerful invitations to “look closer” at stories both familiar and new offer helpful guidance for encouraging young readers.