Book links
         The concept of linking kids’ interests to books is critical if we are going to
see them become lifelong readers and learners. 

         Where does a book link begin? Take your cue from your child’s interests
and activities. Perhaps a visit to a zoo will spark an interest in one particular
animal. If your child is a sports fan, the beginning of a link can be with a
particular player or the sport itself. 

         A visit to another city, state, or country can be the first of a long link of
books about the area.

         A book itself can spark your child’s interest. We find some way to get that
interest and connect it to another book. Was it the author she really enjoyed?
The illustrations? The subject matter? Whatever it was, we scour the library for
more of the same.

 Once you have a subject - spiders, for example - look for other books in
which spiders are featured. Non-fiction is an obvious choice, but there are also
many story books in which spiders are important characters. Be Nice to Spiders
and Charlotte’s Web are two examples. The story of Anansi the Spider comes
from Africa as a folk legend.

         From this point, see if you can continue to link to other books. Be Nice to
Spiders links the child to reading about bugs, spider webs, and zoos.

         Charlotte’s Web can lead to farms, pigs, and county fairs. The Anansi story
can lead to life in Africa, other African animals, and other folk tales. Don’t be shy
about asking your librarian for help in making links among authors’ books or to
related subjects.

         Or you can do this yourself on the Internet.

         Many thanks to Marge Collins, Ann Kenny, and Suzy Thompson of Palo
Verde School, whose presentation at the last California Reading Association
conference gave me the idea to write about this for parents.

         This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents.

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