What does your child collect? Keychains? Baseball cards? Barbies? Action
figures or little stuffed
Use your child’s collecting urge to work toward his advantage. When he
finds a book he likes, look
into other books that the same author has written.
Chances are if he liked
one, he’ll enjoy the same author’s style in another tome.
One of my favorite authors of books for children is James Marshall. I begin
every school year by reading
the seven books in the George and Martha series,
written during the fifteen
year period of 1972 - 1988. These two lovable hippos
of a solid friendship: mutual support and appreciation,
scuffles, pranks, and, at the end of the day, always
being there for each other.
Once my students hear the first one, if I tell them
there are more George
and Martha books, they want to hear them all.
James Marshall was prolific, and his multiple-books series include Fox,
Stupids, Miss Nelson,
and The Cut-Ups. He also re-told several familiar fairy tales
his inimitable style.
In “collecting” and reading the works of authors, help your child look
the elements of style: the
same characters appearing throughout, the
appearance of the artwork,
the themes of the stories told, or the sense of humor
of the author.
You get your child to think critically if you ask, “How can you tell that
book was also written by
that author?” As your child grows, you are helping her
with this skill if you ask
such questions as: Why do you think the author wrote this
book? How would you have
told this story? What changes would you make if
you had a chance to write
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacher’s Advice for Parents.