Saturday, February 6, 2016

The How To Be A Parent Guidebook

I found this really great book recommendation on this blog about children, so I thought I should get the book and read it.  It's called the Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.

Like Your Child's Brain, this book synthesizes lots of research on reading and the eventual success of children.  I've been aware of some of this research, but to see it all together and given meaning by Trelease is stunning.  

My specialty has always been developing cognitive skills in my children so they can pass themselves off as gifted and succeed without really trying.   As a parent, I focus on character and grit.  My personal preference is music and things of a big project nature.  I'd like to see them prepared to succeed in highly technical research in graduate school, but it's more likely at least one of them is just going to go off and do something, what that something is I don't know.

It appears to me that a solid At Home reading program with Read-To will suffice in meeting the complete academic needs of your child and they will live happily above the 95 percentile in everything.  The book describes how.

Unless, of course, you have a son who would rather make jokes or play video games then read.  I didn't see a lot of boys used in the book's anecdotes so far.   Or you spent the first 5 years of your child's life not even thinking about academics and you have catching up to do.  Or even worse, you need to be in the 99th percentile to compete with all of the test prep going on.  Then you're back to my articles.  But I still recommend this book.

A few years ago I was making wall charts of leveled early readers and decided that I would also include every book of every illustrator who won an award since 1950.  Thanks to the Chicago public library, we got some pretty goofy stuff from international illustrators.   I think I brought home 500 books that year.  The whole family enjoyed this program.

According to Trelease and the reading research, all of my achievements as a parent were because of the reading activity.

But according to research on children who play musical instruments, my children are doing well because we practice together each night.

An according to my own research, teaching a child to think (aka giving them a fishing pole) works wonders.

I think I get a B on Trelease's recommendations.  Instead of reading aloud to my 11 year old, I just take my book into his room and read next to him.  I probably get a B in music as well because we only practice for 30 minutes.  I think I'm an A on crafts and projects, maybe an A+.  Anyway, here's the major takeaway from Trelease's book:

  1. People do things that are enjoyable.
  2. The more you do something, the better you get.
  3. The better you are at something, the more enjoyable it is.
  4. If this something happens to be reading, the you will be really, really smart.


  1. I have a second grader and he is two years ahead in math and reading. But recently in his math tests at school, he made some basic mistakes and didn't get the score we're expecting. My question is how can we make sure he doesn't make mistakes on easy stuff at school while we're working on advanced materials at home.

    1. This is such a great question that it needs a post.

    2. I published 2 articles this week that directly address this issue which I also face. It's an ongoing battle, but I think you'll see the solution in these articles.