A classic way to read

JUST FOR PARENTS

July 30, 2000

Classics are stories that have stood the test of time because their rich text and captivating story lines keep them popular from one generation to the next. The past comes alive through these compelling tales. They often portray a range of human emotions and feelings we all experience. In so doing, they can teach children how to be strong under difficult circumstances and that they can overcome many obstacles.

Four such cherished stories have thus far been rewritten to target young audiences as part of a new program for beginning readers called Classic Readers. The series is published by Dorling Kindersley (www.dk.com) under its DK Readers label, a four-level learning-to-read program. The Classic Readers are available in levels three (for grades 2 to 3) and four (for grades 2 to 4), but the guidelines are merely suggestions and not steadfast. Use your own judgment when deciding which level is right for your children.

At level three, "Aladdin" and "Heidi" have been adapted for today's children, and "Robin Hood" and "Black Beauty" make up the higher level selection. More will follow as the year progresses. Each of the books is marked by beautiful illustrations and superb color photographs that combine with engaging and easy-to-read text to capture children's interest and foster their developing reading skills. Notes are included in sidebars throughout the stories providing further explanation and historical details.

Try these reading techniques:

-- Invite your child to read aloud with you, or alternate reading passages.

-- Ask the child to tell stories about the pictures and help make the connection between images and the stories.

-- Ask your child what he / she learned about the event or time to help associate reading with knowledge.

-- Susan Rapp

Village Reading Center

On Wednesdays: The Just for Kids section with read-aloud story, puzzles and poster

Getting together for a literal cause

The Children's Book Guild of Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., draws from a rich literary and historical backdrop. Fifty-five years ago, the Guild was founded on the premise that children's literature was a stimulating and dynamic topic that needed a forum for discussion broader than what was available at the time.

Active membership in the Guild is limited to local authors and illustrators. More than 80 members pull from the ranks of book authors, illustrators, literature specialists, and representatives from public and school library systems, bookstores, publishing companies and educational and governmental institutions.

Several local authors and illustrators give us unique glimpses of Maryland, past and present. Share these books with your child:

-- "Chadwick the Crab" books by Priscilla Cummings

-- "Rosie's Posies" by Marcy Dunn Ramsey

-- "The Boy on the Beach" by Margaret Meacham

-- "Awesome Chesapeake: A Kid's Guide to the Bay" by David Owen Bell

-- "Cal Ripken, Jr.: Quiet Hero" by Lois Nicholson

-- "Stepping on the Cracks" by Mary Downing Hahn

-- "Keeping Time" by Colby Rodowsky

-- Athima Chansanchai

Summer Reading Activities

Go to a learning camp ... at home

Sleep under the stars ... in your house? If you can't take your family to the great outdoors, why not bring the great outdoors home? Camping at home can open up opportunities for reading, by campfire or flashlight, in the house or back yard.

Decide whether you'll be indoors or out and set up a tent. If you don't have one, improvise by throwing a sheet over a table or swing set (remove the swings first!). Ask the kids to gather some favorite books about wild animals, camping, the frontier or the great outdoors.

Make an easel on which you glue objects found in the wild: leaves, pine cones, flowers and sticks. Have your child identify each object and label it. This can be used as a reference for the stories you'll read aloud around a campfire. If you don't want to risk a real fire, spark up your imagination and engage in a real fake, an assemblage of brightly colored paper crumpled up as flames. Fan those flames of creativity with stories told in dramatic voices -- picture yourselves home on the range.

-- Athima Chansanchai

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 email 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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