Raising Readers: Helping Your Child to Literacy

by Steven Bialostok (Peguis, 1992 ISBN 1-895411-37-8.) Parenting Book.
This review by Carol Otis Hurst first appeared in Teaching K-8 Magazine.


Written with humor and without condescension as well as without jargon, the book goes beyond the usual "reading aloud is important," to addressing the role of phonics for early readers and what parents should and should not do about it, how prediction works, how to keep the accent on getting meaning from text and many other concerns of parents. Besides such wonderful passages such as "If you already read aloud to your child, you deserve a pat on the back and encouragement to continue doing so until your son or daughter says, `Pu-leeze, not while my date's here!', the author includes and discusses the following myths of learning:

"Myth Number One: Reading instruction is systematic and sequential...

Myth Number Two: Children must be taught a defined series of skills, including phonics, structural analysis, and sight words, which become progressively more sophisticated. Each new skill must be mastered before the next skill is learned...

Myth Number Three: Most, if not all, learning to read can be accomplished through the basal reader...

Myth Number Four: Children need practice and reinforcement of material and skills taught. Workbooks that correspond to these skills should be provided so that children master these skills."

For a moment, when I saw some worksheets in the book, I was worried, but I needn't have been. The author uses them to point out the kind of task workbooks require and the amount of learning that ensues. It's the kind of book that, together with Jim Trelease's The New Read Aloud Handbook, (Penguin, 1989 ISBN 0 14 046881 1,) ought to be given to parents of newborn children with the requirement that they read them both before the end of the first month of their baby's life.


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