Nurturing a love for words


Advice and strategies to help your children read

January 13, 2002

Editor's note: Today Jerdine Nolen continues her back-to-the-basics series on reading and writing.

Literacy development and growth happens only in the right environment. As parents, we must do all we can to encourage our children to become lifelong readers and writers. That means we must want that for ourselves as well. A commitment to being better readers and writers enriches our own lives and makes the world a better place. Reading aloud, speaking and listening to our children all are very potent ways to stimulate literacy. The cozy physical contact of our children on our laps or very close to us as we read,and the conversations that develop about the pictures and the story, are just some of the ways we can pass along this love to the next generation. Show your children you value the written and spoken word.

* Read books, magazines and newspapers.

* Buy books and other reading materials; give them as gifts.

* Make regular visits to the library.

* Sign your children up for a library card and reading programs.

* Talk about the book you are reading.

* Read to your children daily.

* Keep a supply of writing materials (pencils, colored markers, paper) around.

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen 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 is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

Maryland patches and pride

Every year, the fourth-grade class of Southeast Elementary in Kansas City, Mo., studies different regions of the United States, and one of its methods of information-gathering is asking for patches (like the kind you sew onto a garment) that reflect the region (for Marylanders, crabs, the O's and Ravens might come to mind). Donors are asked to include a note explaining how their choice ties in with their region, points of interest in the area, why they like or dislike where they live and anything else they would like to share about their residence. The class also asks donors to include the name of the newspaper in which they read about the project. The patches and information from donor notes will be featured in a class project at the end of the school year.

Show some local pride and represent our area to these curious kids in the Midwest! Send your submissions to: Fourth Grade Region Project, c / o Southeast Elementary, Susan Schank, 5704 NW Northwood Road, Kansas City, MO 64151. You can also e-mail Mrs. Schank at with any inquiries.

- Athima Chansanchai

New York Times Best Sellers List: Children's Chapter 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. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling (weeks on list: 78)

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (160)

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling (135)

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling (121)

5. The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket (62)

6. Junie B., First Grader (At Last!), by Barbara Park (8)

7. The Reptile Room, by Lemony Snicket (40)

8. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares (12)

9. The Hostile Hospital, by Lemony Snicket (17)

10. The Wide Window, by Lemony Snicket (17)

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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