Friday, July 20, 2012

Univ. of Tennessee Center for Children's and YA Literature's recommended reading list, reprint with thanks

UT Expert Offers Ideas, Books to Get Kids Reading at Summer’s End

Youngsters looking for some entertainment and excitement as the summer winds down might want to explore … the library.

Even kids who get bored with required reading can find summer reading a refreshing change.

And—don’t tell the kids this—summer reading can help maintain and develop their reading level. It’s also a good activity for parents and kids to do together.

“No matter the time of year or age, kids should be reading,” said Miranda Clark, director for the Center for Children’s & Young Adult Literature. “Get them as excited about reading as they are about other activities.”

Here are some tips from Clark for sparking your child’s love of reading this summer:

  • Let them have their way. Take your children to a bookstore or library and let them pick out their own books. “Summer is about freedom, for kids especially,” said Clark. “So giving them the freedom to choose their reading material is key to getting them to read in the summer.”
  • Crank up the car’s stereo with an audio book. Whether you’re traveling or at home, audio books are also a good reading alternative during the summer, Clark said. Parents can go online to the American Library Association’s website and search for award-winning audio books, including those that have won the prestigious Odyssey Award given to the best audio book for children and young adults.
  • Share the love. Parents’ involvement in their children’s reading habits is important in developing children’s critical reading skills. “Help your child learn how to know themselves as a reader,” Clark said. “It’s important we help our children become critical readers. Sharing a book with your child is even better because you can help them notice elements of the writing or illustration then connect those observations to their daily life.”
  • Anything goes. Reading chapter books or novels is wonderful, but reading a comic book or graphic novel is good, too. “Reading is all about acquiring language and being exposed to quality literature and great writing and vocabulary,” Clark said. “I think in the summer, reading is reading, and if kids are reading something they love, that should be good enough for us.”

The Center for Children’s & Young Adult Literature has published a list of award-winning children’s and young adult books as part of their The Best of the Best 2012 Workshop being held today. To see the whole list and to learn more about the center, visit the website.

C O N T A C T :

Miranda Clark (865-974-2305,

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