Advice and strategies to help your children read...

JUST FOR PARENTS

September 24, 2000

Advice and strategies to help your children read

Fostering the Olympic spirit

The host for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games is the shining harbor of Sydney, Australia. This year, more than 10,000 athletes are competing in 28 sports. Pierre de Coubertin wrote a creed to express the vision behind the Games. It says, in part, "The most important thing is not to win, but to take part." Athletes demonstrate perseverance, sportsmanship and teamwork, ideals which many parents hope their children display on the playing field, in classrooms and at home. This is an opportune time to capture that spirit by involving children in reading, writing and activities that teach the kinds of characteristics they will need to reach their own individual goals.

GO FOR THE GOAL -- ONLINE

Go to www.olympics. com / eng / and click on "Kids," then on "The Kids Guide to Sports" to find out what sports are included in the 2000 Olympic Games and to take the trivia challenge. Click on "Sportzone" to play games and learn more about each sport.

At www.scholastic.com / olympicgames / children will find biographies of Olympic champions. Encourage your child to write to his or her favorite athlete. The U.S. Olympic Committee will forward mail to athletes with an address on file and Scholastic will even help your child make a postcard. Send letters c / o U.S. Olympic Committee, One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80909.

Increase your child's knowledge of world geography. Since the Olympics began in 1896, the Summer Games have been held in 17 different countries. Go to www.olympalmanac. org and click on "Sites at a Glance" to find out where.

Then help your child find each country on a world map.

The official Olympic Committee Web site is www.usoc.org, where you will find facts and information about Olympic Games past and present and keep up on news about the athletes.

At www.rootsandwingscatalong.com, you can learn more about Australia -- its land, its amazing animals and the well-known author Mem Fox.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN -- READING FOR GRADES K-3

"Olympics!" by B.G. Hennessy. An informative picture book with a detailed overview about the history, training and preparations for the Olympics.

"Going for the Gold!" by Andrew Donkin. Contains exciting stories about teamwork and courage.

"Koala Lou" by Mem Fox . A story about a young Koala who competes in the "Bush Olympics."

"Olympic Summer Games 2000" published by Puffin Press. A kids guide with facts and photos about each Olympic Sport.

-- Susan Rapp, Village Reading Center

Keep the enthusiasm going

When the Olympics are done, try to recapture the indomitable spirit of the athletes who captured your heart with books like these:

*"Baseball Saved Us"

by Ken Mochizuki

* "Wilma Unlimited: How

Wilma Rudolph Became the

World's Fastest Woman"

by Kathleen Krull

* "Albie the Lifeguard"

by Louise Borden

* "A Picture Book of Jesse

Owens" by David A. Adler

* "JoJo's Flying Side Kick"

by Brian Pinkney

* "Supergrandpa"

by David M. Schwartz

* "Slam" by Walter Dean Myers

Also try to encourage your children to compete for reading medals. Give the gold medalist a reward, but be careful not to forget who comes in second or third. When your children read, everyone's a winner!

-- Athima Chansanchai

Paperback Book Best Sellers

Editor's Note: The children's best-seller list has three categories -- picture books, chapter books and paperbacks -- which are published in rotation, one category per week.

An (x) indicates that a book's sales are barely distinguishable from those of the book above.

1. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling (weeks on list: 1)

2. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling (44)

3. "Holes" by Louis Sachar (1)

4. "J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter" by Marc Shapiro (1)

5. "Ten Timid Ghosts" by Jennifer O'Connell (1)

6. "The World Almanac for Kids 2001" published by World Almanac (1)

7. "Teens Can Make It Happen" by Stedman Graham (1)

8. "Nightmare Hour" by R.L. Stine (1)

9. "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault (1)

10. "Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born" by Jamie Lee Curtis (1)

11(x). "The Number Devil" by Hans Magnus Enzenberger (1)

Contact us

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.

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

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