National Children’s Book Week
         “Plant a seed.... Read!”

         This was the theme of the 80th annual observance of National Children’s Book Week, held from November 15-21, 1999. The purpose of the week is to nurture young people and give them a world view through books.

         Children’s paths to books are guided by teachers and parents. We teachers are doing what we can to provide opportunities to foster this critical skill. Increased parent involvement on this issue can only benefit children.

        Look to your local schools for their effort to elevate the cause of literacy of students in our public schools. Typically, these campaigns hope to increase the level of parent engagement with their children in academic endeavors.

        At the elementary school level, effort goes into the building of literacy portfolios for all students. Middle and high school students who are having trouble with their reading can be offered reading intervention classes.

        Usually, principals at all school sites are knowledgable about parent involvement activities. They are the people you may contact to find out what you may do to boost your child’s literacy. Look for people who are open to responding to parents’ needs, rather than creating a one-size-fits-all approach to boosting literacy and parent involvement.

        Here are some suggestions for your next trip to the library or bookstore with your child. Doing these together can serve the dual purpose of expanding her or his literacy as well as establishing your interest in reading. See if you can find:

  • a new book by an author you already know.
  • a new author.
  • a new book on a subject you enjoy.
  • a new version of a fairy tail or legend that you enjoy. 
  • a book about another culture.
  • a book in a genre you haven’t read yet: mystery, adventure, biography, biology, geography, sports.

        For a wealth of online information, see the Children’s Book Council website at
        This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents.

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