One of the best, and most natural, forms of motivation [to read] is when parents present children with books that focus on important moments in their lives. By sharing books at times such as those in the following list, children see that books have significant things to say about issues that are very important to them. They see a reason for reading, a reason for books.
A New Puppy. When a child gets a new puppy, he or she should receive right along with it any of Norman Bridwell's Clifford, The Big Red Dog books or Marc Brown's Arthur's New Puppy. Puppy Care and Critters, Too! by Judy Petersen-Fleming and Bill Fleming presents information on pet care that any new young owner will appreciate, and My Puppy Is Born by Joanna Cole helps children understand the birth and development process of a young puppy.
An Important Excursion. When a trip to the zoo is planned, providing children with books such as Eric Carle's 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo, Christopher Maynard's Amazing Animal Babies, or Ivan Chermayeff's Furry Facts is an important part of the preparation. When a trip to the beach is planned, reading Seashore by Donald Silver, Tide Pool by Christiane Gunzi, and Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea by Cynthia Rylant can enhance the experience.
The Birth of a Sibling. When a sibling is born, Welcoming Babies by Margy Burns Knight can be shared to introduce children to a variety of cultural traditions for celebrating the arrival of infants.
Time with Mom or Dad. When a child is set to go on a special outing with his or her dad, reading together Mercer Mayer's Just Me and My Dad is a must.
A Loose Tooth. Little is more important to a child than that first loose tooth. This is a perfect time to read Lucy Bate's Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth or Marc Brown's Arthur's Tooth.
A Nightmare. When literature can help a child cope with nightmares, then books become important indeed. Mercer Mayer's There's a Nightmare in My Closet helps children deal with nightmares.
The First Athletic Event. This can be an anxiety-producing time. Ronald Morgan Goes to Bat by Patricia Reilly Giff helps reduce the anxiety.
The Hospital. Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margaret and H. A. Rey helps make a hospital stay a much more manageable occasion.
A Rainy Day. Rainy days can become a time of enchantment when Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and The Napping House by Audrey Wood are read. In fact, every time it rains chances are that one or the other (or both!) of these two books will be placed in a parent's hands to be read. A Rainy Day by Sandra Markle offers scientific information about rain, which may be shared as parents and child explore their wet world.
Death of a Pet. This can be a very traumatic time for a young child. The Tenth Good Thing about Barney by Judith Viorst is a fine book for helping children work through this difficult period.
© ______ 2000, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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