Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kids On KidLit: Bringing Families Together With Books

Patricia Newman is the author of seven children’s books and is a strong literacy advocate. Today, she shares with us her literacy program Kids On KidLitHer program is a wonderful opportunity for kids to share their views on the books they read.

Kids On KidLit: Bringing Families Together With Books
by Patricia Newman
Have you ever looked back at your life and noticed a theme? Mine is literacy. I figured it out when the Sacramento Area Reading Association awarded me the Celebrate Literacy Award for my books, my work in schools, and my devotion to reading. Doesn’t sound like a big “ah-ha” moment does it, but at the awards ceremony I thought back to my childhood when books took me to exotic places and fueled my imagination. Then I raised two readers. We looked forward to our family reading time every evening when my husband and I read aloud to our children until they were old enough to participate. Books have been a huge part of my life and I want to share that love with kids.
In my newest literacy program, Kids On KidLit, your kids get to become book critics. Every child who sends me a review will be published on my blog. I also award a free, age-appropriate book each month to one child who submits a review.

Share a book together
Kids On KidLit provides a meaningful way for you to share a book with your child. Here’s how it works:  First, your child chooses the book. Choosing what to read is part of the joy of reading. When kids find an author they love, they often become loyal fans, reading everything the author has written.
The good news is I don’t care how many pages the book has, whether it’s an Accelerated Reader book, or whether your family has read it 50 times, but I do want the topic to interest your child. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels—it’s all fair game in Kids On KidLit.
Read the book together. Preschoolers can read the pictures and you read the words. With older children, take turns reading aloud, alternating by page or chapter.

Share opinions, write a review
Next, discuss the book with your child. For preschoolers and reluctant writers, ask the child why she liked or disliked the book. The “why” is important to elicit more than a yes/no response. Type what your child says. Verbatim. In Kids On KidLit, your child’s words are king.
If your child is capable of writing a few lines, sit her at the computer (a real treat!), and ask her to type why she liked or disliked the book. Don’t worry about inventive spelling. It’s all part of the charm of getting ideas down on paper. Let’s save the grading for the teachers. My goal is to help children unlock their imaginations and communicate their ideas to others—a critical skill for educational success.
If your child is loaded down with homework and after-school activities, encourage him to send me a book report already completed for school. Professional writers often reuse material, so why can’t children?

Email me, the last step
I post every review I receive. At the end of every month, I randomly select a winner to receive a free, age-appropriate book. And hopefully the cycle begins anew! I invite you to check out posted reviews.
The Kids On KidLit guidelines are easy. Read. Write. Submit. My ultimate goal is to connect kids to great books.
Thanks for helping!

Learn more about me and my books:

  • Bravo zulu! Nugget on the Flight Deck is a California Reading AssociationEureka! Silver Honor Book for Excellence in Nonfiction.

Many thanks to Patricia for sharing her program with us today. I'm always happy to pass on information about what others are doing to promote literacy. And check out Patricia's books - they're real winners!

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