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spect each other's special time
with Mom or Dad, whether it's
before bed or during any other
part of the day.
Time is a problem for many
parents today, but look at how
you spend your time and check
your priorities. The special time
for reading and closeness that
you set aside is a small invest-
ment yielding enormous returns
in your relationship with your
child and in his or her develop-
Here are some helpful "how-
to's" of reading aloud, as sug-
gested by Mr. Trelease, Mr.
Sawyer and Ms. Corner, and ed-
ucation professor Joan I. Glazer
(in Literature for Young Chil-
• Let the child help select the
• Choose a quiet, comfortable
• Hold the book so the child
can see the illustrations.
• Encourage the child to par-
ticipate by looking at the cover,
turning the pages when she is
ready, pointing to pictures and
words, and responding to the sto-
ry by talking about it and asking
• Vary your voice and pace.
• Convey enthusiasm (it's con-
• Paraphrase or condense dif-
• Respect the child's attention
span and stop if he gets restless.
Read the book first to be sure
it's appropriate. What criteria
should you use for selecting books
to read to your child? First,
choose books that are suitable for
the child's age and individual in-
terests, and well-written in un-
The themes should come from
the child's world. Consider
whether the content reflects your
family's values. Look for clear, ap-
pealing illustrations. The most
important thing is that both par-
ent and child enjoy reading the
book. Children benefit from ex-
posure to a variety of subjects and
a range of genres (fiction, poet-
ry and rhymes, humor, adven-
ture, traditional and new stories).
Parents seeking guidance
about what kinds of books are ap-
propriate for each developmen-
tal level of childhood can find
detailed recommendations and
lists of titles in resources such as
those mentioned above, and in li-
braries and book catalogs.
"If I have to read The Hungry
Caterpillar one more time, I'll go
crazy," goes a typical parental
groan. Young children do love
hearing their favorite stories read
over and over again. Part of the
pleasure is from their sense of
mastering the words, sounds and
Before you lose patience, recall
your own old, well-thumbed fa-
vorites from childhood, adoles-
cence, and even adulthood.
Judaism recognizes and teach-
es the benefits of repetition. We're
commanded to retell the
Passover story ("Haggadah" is
from the Hebrew word "to tell")
every year, and no sooner do we
finish reading the Torah than we
start all over again. With each
repetition, we both recognize and
savor the familiar parts, and hear
or learn something new, because
we have changed and grown.
Similarly, children look for-
ward to reading certain special
books during the annual cycle.
"My daughter always wants to
hear Hershel and the Hanukkah
Goblins (by Eric Kimmel) and
The Passover Parrot, by Evelyn
Zusman, on those holidays," says
one mother, "and I enjoy them,
You need not limit yourself,
however, to reading a book. With
a little effort and imagination,
you can extend the enjoyment of
literature with your child.
Join the long tradition of Jew-
ish storytellers, a profession re-
spected in almost every culture
in the world for its power to en-
gage and enthrall audiences.
Telling a story differs from read-
ing it; telling requires a thorough
knowledge of the story, and stim-
ulates the listener's imagination
by dramatic use of the voice, body
Another technique for con-
necting a book to a child's real-
life experience is using activities
to expand the learning and fun.
For example, before and after
reading the story of King
Solomon and the Bee to a child,
you can discuss and look at books
about insects, listen to The Flight
of the Bumblebee by Tchaikovsky,
have a honey tasting, and visit
Lively Legends — Jewish Val-
ues, by Miriam P. Feinberg and
Rena Rotenberg, and Story S-T-
R-E-T-C-H-E-R-S , by Shirley C.
Raines and Robert J. Canady,
while designed for use in early
childhood curricula, are two re-
sources packed with wonderful
ideas that parents can use at
Lively Legends, like the series
Jewish Legends and Stories for
Parents and Children (Dvora Lif-
shitz and Ofra Reisman), also
helps parents convey Jewish con-
cepts and values through litera-
BONDING page G62
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