Monday, March 18, 2013

Library Treasures: The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Here is a book every teacher, every parent, every politician, and every one who cares anything about education should read.  I found this treasure on the "for parents" shelf.  I picked it up at random with another less helpful volume. Part way through the first chapter I realized that The Read Aloud Handbook was one I wanted to own.   My copy arrived just in time, so on our cross country road trip this weekend I read it in bits to my husband.

As a teacher

Several years ago, in another life, I was a young science teacher with a problem.  My students could not read well.  I had completed a degree in physics, taken education courses, and even student taught under some excellent mentor teachers.  I knew how to teach science. I taught it with all my might. I promise you, my students knew physics.  The problem was that in order to graduate high school in the great state of Texas, you need to pass a written test, and my kids were struggling readers.  For six years I have wondered, "how could I learn to improve reading skills in my future students?"  Jim Trelease answered my question!  It makes sense, it's doable, research backed, and cheap!  I just can not believe no one pointed his work out to me earlier.

As a parent

In my current life, my thoughts are occupied with the welfare of two precious pre-school children.  I want to give them every advantage.  My parents handed me a tradition of reading aloud, and I am trying to pass it on to my children.  Here is one more affirmation that this is a critical ingredient to student success.

Trelease covers so much more.  He covers parenting in the modern age, examples of how to mend socio-economic disparities, how to read a book well, what to do when the parent can not read and when the child does not want to read.   If you are interested enough to read this little post, you will want to read this book!

Oh, and a statistic he mentions: 98% of kids who have a high interest in books in kindergarten are taken to the library.  Guess where I plan to be tomorrow?

If you have found a treasure in the library lately, would you share it in the comments?


  1. I love Jim Trelease. His website is good too. He has other interesting, though provoking articles-- like should you read chapter books to preschoolers. etc.
    Have you read Mem Fox's "Reading Magic"? It's similar but doesn't have the book suggestions that Trelease offers. She gives great stats on the importance of "only" reading with your kids!
    Happy Reading!

    1. Thanks Jackie! I can't believe that no one ever pointed his work out to me before. I am writing down "Reading Magic" so that I can look it up.

  2. Here is Trelease's web-site for anyone who is interested:

  3. Jim Trelease is great. He even offers free parent brochures on his website.