Celebrate Reading: National Children’s Book Week

ARON H Aron Holewinski, Media and Communications Intern, and English literature student at Williams College (MA) 

Tueday, April 26, 2011

Westport, CT


Next week is National Children’s Book Week.  A time to celebrate those cherished and tattered books that many of us can recite by heart.

Reading has always been a part of my life.  As a kid, I eagerly awaited for my mom or grandmother to read me a book at bedtime. One of my favorites was “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” about a clever little mouse who asks a boy for a cookie and then keeps asking him for more things.

I remember stories of gallant knights and Western cowboys, buried treasure and Arabian nights. I loved closing my eyes and letting my imagination drift. Later, I seldom ventured without a book. On long car rides in the back seat, or during summer vacations by the pool – I always had a book at hand, and a story to get back to.

Ultimately, fiction is the stuff of life. We learn about each other and the ways we live through reading.

ARON on books

Given my own passion for reading, I am distressed to think that so many children cannot read for themselves. Reading is a fundamental skill that too many children go without.  And, when you don’t know how to read or write, words turn into a jumble of symbols. 

But, that’s where Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program comes in.  It’s a much-needed program to help young kids in grades one to four develop their language and reading skills both inside and outside the classroom. It works by engaging everyone in the community – from teachers, parents and even older children – to help kids learn through simple actions like reading aloud with a child.  

Kids in 10 countries in Africa and Asia are currently enrolled in the program, and, we’re seeing impressive preliminary results. Kids are reading more words per minute, they have a better understanding of what they’re reading and they are excited to showcase their reading skills with others.  
There’s no doubt that my family’s persistent reading aloud, and their steady encouragement to read influenced me.   

I hope other kids get to share that joy, too, so that when they open a book, letters will become words. And words will become stories. And characters will spring to life, opening up a whole new world to them.

Here are some easy ways you can celebrate reading and National Children’s Book Week: 

  1. Read to a child today. 
  2. Share your favorite children’s book in the comments section below. 
  3. Provide picture books for preschoolers in Afghanistan with an $80 donation.

 

15 comments

  1. In Nepal, we have a series of book called “Tommy Tempo”. Its about the adventures of an autorickshaw and children love it! I love it too. Its produced by Room to Read.

  2. A bit shy but there you go, my favourites were sleeping beauty, snow white and cinderella, complete with a giant doll’s house in my bedroom, which you do not want to know about what was in it or who(?) lived there. Mum was always passionate about books and our library room. Never came a night without touching my bedtime book from the library. I get this incomparable comfort smelling old archives and touching even the cover, let alone flipping the pages. It is one of the sweetest things we can do for our children, definitely.

  3. Thank you so much everyone for responding. Just browsed through the shelf of old favorites in the family room the other day. I’m glad to hear reading has made a meaningful difference in the lives of so many people. It’s great to see the support for our Literacy Boost program, and the interest from around the world. If you would like to learn more about our efforts please check out this link: http://bit.ly/kQeiWj

  4. My favorite children book is The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. My mom says I was extremely excited when she bought it. I was drawn to the illustrations and the fictional story of how toys became real. By that time I had a lovely pink rabbit (similar to the one Williams described) and I grew up actually believing that toys had a soul! (I think that explains why I talked to my toys all the time when I was a child and why I carried them everywhere). If I had to choose one book to describe my childhood, my early years, my naiveness, and my best memories with my mommy this one would be it.

    I’ve been away from home for so many years but every time I go back to visit my parents I always find The Velveteen Rabbit on the bookshelf -where I kept my books a long time ago – and now belongs to my sister.

    I guess I learned the art of storytelling from my mom. She always tried all kinds of voices for the different characters, changing the story just to make me laugh or seeking a shocking unexpected twist. I kept the tradition going and I’ve reading books for all the little kids of my family for generations. I just can’t wait to teach my own kids the precious gift they can get from books without even knowing it 🙂

  5. My favorite book to read is Darius Bell and the glitter Pool by Odo Hirsch.
    The reason why I like this book because of its great description and fantastic imagination.
    I like the main guy because of how he foud the Glitter Pool and did brave things to help his family from being ashamed at.
    I like to say its a must-read for those who havn’t read it or heard about.

  6. children that are serious in schooling are those children who loves reading even if not to do so.

  7. I am happy that there is such a thing as the National Children’s Book Week. One book that i can recommend to all children (and most grownups!) is “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

  8. We are reading Fireside Stories Tales for a winters eve…Perfect for the season.

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