________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 9 . . . . January 4, 2002

cover The Gift of Reading.

David Bouchard & Wendy Sutton.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2001.
158 pp., pbk, $19.95.
ISBN 1-55143-214-5.

Subject Headings:
Children-Books and Reading.
Reading-Parent participation.

Professional Reading.

Review by Lorraine Douglas.

**** /4


"After all, no one has more influence on our children than do we, their parents, their caregivers and their extended families. What we need to be doing in our homes is not complicated; all it takes is time and commitment: the commitment to become readers ourselves, to read with our children, to create reading environments in our homes, and to provide our children with an abundance of good books. If we, the families, follow through on all of these, we will send our children off to school ready to learn to read and to be readers for life."

This very readable and interesting guide challenges the reader - whether parent or educator - to take responsibility for "helping children learn to read and love reading." The authors are both respected leaders in education and literacy in Canada. David Bouchard is a former teacher and school administrator who has written a number of very popular and award winning children's books including If You're Not from the Prairie. Wendy Sutton has had an active career in teaching both elementary and secondary school as well as at the University of British Columbia.

     Bouchard personalizes their messages on promoting literacy by telling how he, as a non-reader, developed a love and passion for reading as an adult. The messages in the book directed at parents encourage them to control the electronics in the home and to provide the "gift of reading" by allowing children quiet time to spend reading. The book synthesizes advice offered by other reading experts including Jim Trelease and Paul Kropp. The information both for parents and educators is carefully documented. The authors also list book choices which are very selective and current. They also suggest "quality" reviewing journals for parents to find new choices. Unfortunately they do not mention any Canadian sources such as CM or Canadian Children's Book News or the Our Choice annual catalogues of the best Canadian titles. Also missing are suggestions for the raft of on-line web sites promoting children's books and reading.

     The section dedicated to teachers and administrators gives very good advice for building a culture of reading in schools. The authors note that school administrators rarely attend an author reading in the school thus demonstrating their lack of support for reading. Also perceptively noted is how few adults who work with children have read the "Harry Potter" books and how adults need to show an interest in the books children are reading which lets them know that their reading is important. One of the best parts in this section is the guide to implementing a silent reading program in a school.

     The authors present their personal experiences, expertise, background knowledge and enthusiasm for reading in this excellent new addition to the literature on reading. An added feature is the numerous boxes of highlighted information with facts on reading and literacy and the sidebars with inspiring quotations and personal stories. A "must-purchase" for all school and public libraries and every principal's office.

Highly Recommended.

Lorraine Douglas is the Youth Services Coordinator for Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364