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Fifteen Minutes to Success: Compelling Stories for Your Child

September 14, 2018
By Lee Ann Cleary , OVParent

Experts agree that reading aloud from birth to third grade is the single most important thing a parent or caregiver can do to help prepare a child for reading and learning according to readaloud.org. Fifteen minutes a day is all you need to get your child on the road to success. It's easy to find fantastic books to read aloud to infants, toddlers and the preschool crowd, but what about those early elementary age children? What types of stories are right for them?

I feel that you should play to your child's strengths and interests. Young children love stories that are funny, but they also enjoy stories about real people. I have found that biographies are extremely popular with kids of all ages. Right now the Who Is series of biographies fly off the shelves. These biographies are fun, fascinating, and engaging. And the kids love them. While they are great, I think there are some other biographies that are fantastic for reading aloud.

Otis and Will Discover the Deep:

Article Photos

The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere

by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Katherine Roy

Here is a beautifully done story of two boys who shared a goal-to be the first person to explore the deep ocean. The boys were very different. Otis was an engineer and Will was an explorer. Otis learned of Will's plans while he was reading an article about the diving tank Will planned to use. Realizing that this design was flawed, Otis send letter after letter to Will asking to meet. A partnership was formed and the two men are credited with being the first to dive to a depth of 800 feet below the ocean's surface. The illustrations in this book show the various sea life that the men encountered on their dive. Children will not only learn about ocean life and the risks of deep sea diving but also of working together for a common goal.

Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor

by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala

This book tells the story of Joan Proctor, a young lady with a love of animals, specifically reptiles. Joan lived at a time when women didn't work outside the home, however World War I changed all of that and Joan became the curator of the Natural History Museum and then the curator of the Reptile House of the London Zoo. Around this time the zoo acquired two komodo dragons. At the time, little was known about these animals. They were believed to be large and vicious. Joan studied and cared for the two and used to walk freely around the zoo with one of the dragons. Children will notice that Joan is depicted in a wheelchair at the end of the story. She suffered from chronic health problems throughout her life but did what she loved and made a lasting impact on the study and care of reptiles.

Astronaut Scott Kelly:

My Journey to the Stars

by Scott Kelly and illustrated by Andre Ceolin

Kelly tells the story of growing up with a twin brother and their daredevil antics. Kelly wasn't a good student but discovered his goal in life in the book, "The Right Stuff." He found that having a goal helped him to concentrate on his school work. Both brothers became NASA astronauts and were perfect for a special mission-studying the changes a body goes through with prolonged time in space. Scott would spend a year in space and Mark would stay on earth. After the year in space Scott stretched almost two inches and his eyesight worsened, though neither of these changes were permanent. The book includes lots of Scott's photographs from the space station.

Spend some time together selecting books with your child and then enjoy reading and even discussing them. Biographies can be just as interesting to adults, so you can learn together while you build your child's level of success.

- Lee Ann Cleary is the children's program director at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling.

 
 
 

 

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