Books expand a child's world, imagination and experiences


Advice and strategies to help your children read

November 04, 2001

Editor's Note: Today Jerdine Nolen goes back to the basics and discusses why it's so important for parents to pass on the love of reading to their children.

With everything that is going on in the world, now more than ever, reading and becoming a proficient reader are so very important for our children. Children who are read to and who read on their own generally do better in school. Reading allows them to open up to new subjects or ideas, which makes learning easier. Reading expands the mind and the imagination. Reading offers quiet reflection and gives your kids so many opportunities to think and experience worlds and situations they might never experience first hand.

Reading produces opportunities

* for aesthetic, emotional and intellectual responses

* to experience character conflicts and universal problems

* to experience beauty, delight, wonder, humor, despair

* to encounter the thrill of taking risks and solving mysteries

* to enjoy a sense of achievement

* to identify with others and form self identity

* to experience things from a different perspective

* to challenge oneself

* to dream, ponder and ask questions

Jerdine Nolen of Ellicott City is the award-winning children's book author of Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm and Raising Dragons. Her most recent book is Big Jabe. She was a teacher and administrator in elementary education and has tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

Sign a book to give a child his first book

The Gift of Reading tour features the largest known book ever made (12 feet tall by 15 feet wide) -- but most of it is a blank slate. This fall, it goes on a road trip to five cities (Chicago, Jefferson City, Mo., Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Atlanta) where it'll be opened for individuals to fill it up with their John Hancocks. For every person who signs the big red book, a new book will be put into the hands of a child in need, thanks to Coca-Cola, Scholastic and First Book. These organizations have teamed up to battle the growing tide of illiteracy among American schoolchildren, and all have firsthand knowledge of the powerful role books can play in children's lives.

After years of ubiquity, Coca-Cola is center stage because of its Harry Potter-themed marketing, timed to the release of the movie on November 16. Scholastic is the United States publisher of said boy wizard and thus sitting pretty atop this golden egg. Unlike the other two monoliths, First Book is a national non-profit organization that focuses on one thing: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. Last year they gave away more than four million books.

On Wednesday you'll get your chance to add to those numbers as the book travels to Union Station in Washington, D.C. Though it might not come anywhere near the 10 million signatures gathered in a Guinness Record-breaking achievement by Amnesty International three years ago, the tour is expected to put 100,000 new books into the hands of children in need. For more information on First Book and the tour visit www.first or call 866-READ-NOW (732-3669).

-- Athima Chansanchai

New York Times Best Sellers List: Children's Picture Books

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. Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer (weeks on list: 6)

2. Olivia by Ian Falconer (56)

3. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin (40)

4. Marsupial Sue by John Lithgow (6)

5. The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau (45)

6. Mick Foley's Halloween Hijinx by Mick Foley (3)

7. My World by Margaret Wise Brown (4)

8. Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss (223)

9. The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley (2)

10. The Honeybee and the Robber by Eric Carle (6)

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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