Books broaden perspective on Earth's other cultures...

JUST FOR PARENTS

June 11, 2000

Books broaden perspective on Earth's other cultures

Advice and strategies to help your children read

Getting to know people from other cultures can enhance a child's global perspective. Literature is one way to introduce children to the values, beliefs and experiences of people from all over the world. These stories form a powerful and memorable way to introduce children to the common feelings, thoughts and yearnings children all share, no matter where they're from.

When selecting multicultural books, look for the ways the literature introduces ideas that encourage tolerance and a wider vision. Try to select books that:

* are free from obvious bias and stereotypes.

* emphasize the benefits of living in a society where we're exposed to people who look different from us.

* depict positive media images of children and contain interesting and appealing pictures and photographs that highlight the attributes of a specific culture or group of people.

Suggested books:

* "A New Baby At Your House" by Joanna Cole

* "The Way to Start a Day" by Byrd Baylor

* "The Greatest Treasure" by Demi

* "Let the Games Begin" by Maya Ajmera

* "Children Just Like Me: Celebrations!" photos by Barnanas Kindersley

* "All Kinds of Children" by Norma Simon

* "Something Beautiful" by Sharon Dennis Wyeth

* "Grandfather Tang's Story" by Ann Tompert

* "Too Many Tamales" by Gary deSoto

To learn more about diversity around the world go to www.globalfundforchildren.org and read about SHAKTI, a nonprofit committed to promoting the human rights of children. -- Susan Rapp, Village Reading Center

Ways to make sure summer includes reading adventures

Bruce Lansky, a best-selling children's author and creator of gigglepoetry.com, which receives 80,000 to 120,000 users a month, gives kids opportunity for fun with words with contests like the "Newfangled 'Yankee Doodle' " and "The Giggle Rap." He also offers ways to keep kids reading during summer vacation:

1. Find books your child is excited about reading.

2. Find activities that relate to the books your child is reading. Be creative and spin off something fun!

3. Read to your child every night at bedtime.

4. Form a summer reading group with your child's friends.

5. Ask your child to read to you while you drive.

6. Have your child read a book that will be released as a movie, then go see the movie.

7. Encourage your kids to read outside. Summer days pass nicely under a tree or on the beach.

8. Set a good example by consistently reading books in front of your child.

The Sun's readers tell their success stories and offer tips on encouraging children to read.

Mail delivers reading cues

"When the mail comes, we read the envelopes to see who receives each letter as well as our address. When catalogs come, my son chooses special items and we read the description of the items."

-- Kelly J. Brown, Lutherville

Making space for reading

"My son and I like to create special reading places. We will build a tent in his room or a house out of cardboard. Then we take a flashlight, and he reads me a few pages of his current reader, and then I read to him a selection of his choice. This has turned reading into a great adventure for us."

-- Karen Dimaio, Berlin

Illuminating new words

"Make flash cards with names of household items (refrigerator, table, sofa, etc.), and let your child identify each item. Start with five the first day and steadily build up a vocabulary. You could even make up a short story after accumulating a list of words." -- Joan Caskey, Baltimore

The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on sunspot.net, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to sun.features @baltsun.com; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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