Curbside/Telephone Hours:
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71 Monell Ave., Islip, NY
631-581-5933

​Curbside/Telephone Hours:
Mon-Thu: 11-7 / Fri: 11-5 / Sat: 11-3​
71 Monell Ave., Islip, NY
631-581-5933

Curbside/Telephone Hours:
Mon-Thu: 11-7 / Fri: 11-5 / Sat: 11-3
71 Monell Ave., Islip, NY
631-581-5933

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Archive Monthly Archives: August 2018

Reading Aloud to Older Children

The Importance of Reading Aloud to Older Children

Contrary to popular belief, reading aloud to your children should not end after they learn to read.

According to Boston-based journalist and author Jim Trelease, reading aloud to older children—even up to age 14—has both academic and emotional benefits. While many parents and caregivers believe older children should be left on their own once they learn how to read fluently, and many older children demand independence from the daily routine of read-aloud sessions, Trelease argues that reading levels don’t catch up to children's listening levels until 8th grade, and that reading aloud to older children helps children’s language fluency, as well as comprehension, especially if they are following along with the book.

Trelease, who could be called the King of Read-Aloud, turned his passion for reading aloud to his own children into The Read-Aloud Handbook, which is used by educators and librarians as the go-to source for information on the subject.

Trelease argues that parents can and should be reading 7th grade books aloud to 5th graders because children enjoy listening to more complicated plots than they can read themselves. Parents also can use such books as an opportunity to open discussions about difficult social issues that children face as they move through school.

For instance, according to Trelease, parents might tell children not to hang out with certain kids—a lecture that is largely ignored. But if parents read a book about a child who gets in trouble by choosing the wrong friends, that is an opportunity for a discussion about wise choices. One excellent choice of a novel that opens the discussion for an increasingly common problem is Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, in which a high school freshman refuses to speak rather than reveal that she has been attacked by a classmate.

In addition to helping older readers with comprehension, read-aloud sessions help teach practical speaking skills. Melissa Taylor, in an article for www.readbrightly.com, writes that the reading parent or caregiver can model how to read by pausing at commas and periods, with voice inflection indicating questions or exclamations and with pauses to look up unfamiliar words, and how to use clues in the text to help the child figure out the meaning.

Taylor also believes reading aloud hooks kids into trying a new author or series of books and different genres or texts they wouldn’t normally choose on their own, a premise Trelease shares. On his website, www.trelease-on-reading.com, he has book lists, book reviews, excerpts from his read-aloud handbook and other information for parents. It's a good source of information.

When children and caregivers engage in read-aloud sessions well into middle school, their appreciation for reading is enhanced as they get older. The Synergy School, a private school in San Francisco, published a survey by Scholastic and YouGov that 62% of children aged 6-8 reported they “like a lot” and “love” reading for fun. That number drops to 46-49% for ages 9-17. Additionally, the study found that while 52% of younger children report reading for fun is extremely important, that number drops below 45% for older children who believe in the importance of pleasure reading. According to the Synergy article, reading aloud to older children brings alive the little child in them and counteracts what Trelease calls the “sweat mentality” around books because their school commitments reduce the time they have to read just for fun.

Children with reading difficulties benefit greatly from read-aloud sessions at home in a secure environment. In an interview with KQED News, Trelease emphasized the importance of what he calls “broadening the menu,” which shows students that not all reading is drill and skill, that the “good stuff—the really great books” are just ahead. A child with dyslexia can relax and just listen to a good book rather than struggle with it.  Read-alouds make reading more fun.

Best of all, memories of books heard last a long time. Trelease said he once received a letter from a retired teacher who reconnected online with former students years after she stopped teaching. The students said the one thing they remembered was the books she read to them. When I was teaching, my favorite part of each day was the time I put aside to read aloud to my 5th and 6th graders. The best thing was students begging me: “please don't stop reading.”

Some Read-Alouds for Big Kids:

  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
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    Matilda by Roald Dahl
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    The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
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    Wonder by R.J. Palacio
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    The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
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    Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
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    Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
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    (And many other titles on Jim Trelease's website)
August is National Deli Month

August is National Deli Month – Who Knew?!

Back when I was a kid almost no one had air conditioning. We lived on Long Island, and as we all know, August on Long Island is soupy and swampy - a sauna. My childhood home wasn’t anywhere near the water where one could find a breeze - our house was smack in the center of the Island. On the rare occasion when you actually felt a breeze, it was newsworthy. There was not a breath of air - no relief from the dogdays of August. Sure, we went to the beach sometimes, but there were days when it was actually too hot even to do that. You could cool off in your backyard pool if you were lucky enough to have one, but sometimes the sun beat down so hard on the water that it provided little relief. Watering the plants with the garden hose and running through the sprinkler worked pretty well, but how long could you do that? We could have visited the public library to get cool, but our library was located in a small storefront with one wholly inadequate window air conditioner. Not much relief there, though I do remember that it offered a water fountain with icy cold water. A trip to an air conditioned store was a very exciting proposition, but you had to endure the car ride there and back. Needless to say, almost no one had a car with air conditioning either – we certainly didn’t. By the time you got back home any cooling effect you may have enjoyed had been completely eliminated - along with your hairstyle - since the car windows were rolled down all the way. (Kids, we used to roll down the windows by hand). Sometimes, if you were on a highway, you thought you would get blown right out the car window.  (There were no seatbelts either, but that’s another blog post for another month.)

As many overwrought and overheated moms did back then, my mother instituted occasional deli nights in the summer. We had salads, cold cuts, and rolls from the deli – a special treat indeed since it was, as my mother would say “rather dear” and necessitated cuts elsewhere in the already strained household budget.

Clearly, the moms of the 60s and 70s were way ahead of their time, because only three years ago, in 2015, Ziggy Gruber (aka the “Deli Man”) designated August as National Deli Month. Check out the article at this link.

Ziggy instituted this month as a way to promote and expand awareness of Jewish delicatessens and deli food, but I can’t help but think that he chose August for the celebration because he remembered sweltering summer days from his childhood too.

Many of us now enjoy air conditioned homes (and cars) so we could in fact continue to cook in August. But it’s National Deli Month, so who needs to?!  Besides, who doesn’t love a nice pastrami on rye with coleslaw and a pickle on the side?!  Enjoy!

(PS – the Islip Public Library has excellent air conditioning – stop in and stay awhile)

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