Books help children unlock the mysteries of reading


Advice and strategies to help your children read

September 16, 2001

Children cradled in the crook of mom or dad's arm are in a perfect position to appreciate the world of literature, since that's where they're listening to their parent reading a favorite story. Soon they learn that they, too, will be able to unlock the mysteries that lie between the covers of books. It takes just the right tools to allow those emerging skills to blossom. The Now I'm Reading! series (Innovative Kids, $14.99 for a set of 10 storybooks) is a step in the right direction.

Animal Antics (Levels One and Two) by Nora Gaydos focus on long and short vowel sounds and consonant combinations. Perhaps the most salient feature of this set is its blend of sound research and clever story lines. In fact, the books have been endorsed by the current president of the International Reading Association, Carmelita Williams. She states, "Rhyming and repeating words in each story help children develop an ease in learning to read and a feeling of confidence."

This is not your old stick-in-the-mud rendition of early reader exercises -- though mud does figure prominently into one story. In the book Rub-A-Dub Cub the zany, loveable cub illustrated by B.B. Sams is splattered by the gooey stuff, which sticks to him. Yuck! Your child will learn some fun new words on the little guy's path to cleanliness.

Each story has its own plot from start to finish so children acquire a sense of reading a complete tale. A parent guide offers practical, but not overwhelming, tips on using the books. And, since children love incentives, character stickers are bound into the guide to celebrate success! Skills are reinforced through:

* Use of repetitive text to help develop fluency,

* An organized sequential phonics approach,

* A building block pattern in which each story begins with two words and progresses, a word or two at a time, to phrases and longer sentences, and

* Enhancement activities at the back of each storybook that extend the reading and offer ways to further develop your child's ability to use words in oral language.

-- Susan Rapp

Village Reading Center

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah

Tomorrow, the Rosh Hashanah holiday initiates the Jewish New Year. Solemn observation and festive celebration make this an occasion the whole family looks forward to every year as a time of spiritual reflection and renewal.

Your kids can help you prepare the meals for this occasion, which include apples and bread dipped in honey, round-shaped hallah (egg bread) and fish. They can also listen attentively for the blowing of the shofar, the ram's horn with meaning attached to each of its sounds. Lastly, they can check out these books for more information:

Dance, Sing, Remember: A Celebration of Jewish Holidays by Leslie Kimmelman

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays by Malka Drucker

The World's Birthday: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Barbara Diamond Goldin

Beni's Family Cookbook for the Jewish Holidays by Jane Breskin Zalben

-- Athima Chansanchai

New York Times Children's

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.

1. Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman by Dav Pilkey (weeks on list: 2)

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (95)

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (52)

4. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (10)

5. Holes by Louis Sachar (52)

6. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (1)

7. Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp (25)

8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (25)

9. The Case of the Dog Camp Mystery by Judy Katschke (9)

10. The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing (5)

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, 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; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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