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Do you Have a Reading Plan?

September, 2011
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We all have different plans for the various scenarios and activities in our lives. Weekend plans, vacation plans, emergency plans, plans for all the important things in our lives. But,  do we have a reading plan? Like all good architectural designs, plans start with a firm foundation. Reading also needs to have a firm foundation in the home as well as at school.

img_5153-sWhen creating a home reading plan, there are a few questions to ask yourself:

Do you read for pleasure? Do you read to your children? Do your children see you reading? Do your children read for pleasure?

If your answers were less than a shouted “YES!, YES!, YES!, YES! ,” then consider some of our ideas for establishing a plan of action to make your household a reading household.

Keep books everywhere. Keep them on the shelves, but also on the floor, on tables, in the bathroom, in the car, in a backpack, in your purse, and on digital devices. Audio books are great entertainment from iTunes and www.audible.com, and they are a great way to develop those auditory listening skills.

Set an example by letting your children see you reading too. This is especially important for dads.  Older children could read aloud to parents and younger siblings. I like to do this when I’m especially tired or just to give my more expressive middle daughter a chance to act out the story.

Set aside time every night to read aloud…even to older children. The last of the Eragon series, Inheritance, is coming out on November 8th. It would be a great teen read aloud!

Set up a reading place in the home. Just moving in and don’t know what to do about all those boxes? Build a reading cottage.

Set up a special place for library books so that you can find them again. Many homes have ayis and books can get misplaced because the ayi has not been part of the plan. Make her part of the plan.

Set a reading challenge in your home. How many books can your family read by the end of the year? Decide on a family reading prize for making your goal….a family Kindle, Nook, or an iPad for more reading would be great reading prize!

From The Read-Aloud Handbook:

“Set aside at least one traditional time each day for a story.

Vary the length and subject matter of your readings, both fiction and non-fiction.

Remember that everyone enjoys a good picture book, even a teenager…”

You can’t go wrong when you PLAN to read with your child. Start your plan today!

If you don’t know what books to read, stop by your local school library to get some suggestions. Here are a few new reads to consider…


rhyming-s1Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas. When I saw the title of this book, I thought that the children’s book industry was sinking low to publish a book about dust! So of course I had to open it to find out how bad it really was! To my surprise, I was quite impressed with the clever story line of teaching young children how to rhyme with a little bit of danger on the side. These dust bunnies will get you rhyming in a short time!


a-tale-sA Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine. What do the story of Puss N’ Boots, a dragon who hides his or her detective skills, and a young girl who wants to be a mansioner (actress) have in common? Intrigue, attempted murder, and of course cats and mice. Elodia, our heroine, doesn’t know who or what to trust as she begins her new life in the Kingdom of Lapai. Author Gail Carson Levine will have you guessing the ‘whodunits’ right up to the end.  Don’t forget – Don’t trust anyone…not even the cats or the mice!

roslyn-sRoslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth! by Marie-Louise Gay.

Roslyn Rutabaga is a determined rabbit who decides one morning to dig the biggest hole on Earth. Her father is supportive, but she meets many obstacles when she decides to carry out her plan in her own backyard: an angry worm, a grouchy mole, and an annoyed dog. She may discover pirate treasure, she may dig to China (Roslyn is a Canadian bunny), but most of all she hopes to reach the South Pole where she will ask the penguins if they like carrot sandwiches.

Gay’s illustrations are muted and intriguing with tiny details that children will love to pick out. Look for Gay’s Stella series also. This author has created some truly wonderful heroines. 

flying-books-sThe Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce; developed by Moonbot Studios

Mr. Morris Lessmore loves books but tragedy strikes and his quiet life is literally turned up-side-down. Wandering around his fractured world, he meets a new friend: a book that leads him to a place where the books need him as much as he needs them.

This is an amazing story on so many levels. It’s touching and traditional, while it takes full and beautiful advantage of what iPad technology has to offer. We can only hope that other authors and developers will take note, so that soon we will have many stories of this caliber available on iPad.

Not only is the story lovely and the animation stunning, but the iPad gives it the advantage of allowing the reader to interact with the story through fun and engaging activities. Like all great children’s stories, it does not talk down to the reader and it can be enjoyed by all age groups. 


By the Shanghai Librarians Network


 Barbara W. Boyer, ES Librarian at Shanghai American School, Pudong

 Eileen Hurley, ES Librarian at Suzhou Singapore International School



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