Sunday, July 10, 2016

AH-CHOO Guest Post with Gloria G. Adams

Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher & ARC: Sterling Children's

Why Reading Books Out Loud is Valuable

by Gloria G. Adams, co-author, Ah-Choo!

One of the most important things we can do for our children is read books out loud to them.
According to Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, “It’s long established in science and research: the child who comes to school with a large vocabulary does better than the child who comes to school with little familiarity with words and a low vocabulary. How does a child develop a large vocabulary even before school starts? Children who are spoken to and read to most often are the ones with the largest vocabularies.”

Other positives include hearing rich language, increasing attention spans, and developing strong pre-reading skills.

Trelease points out that “Reading aloud to your kids is also a good way to grapple with difficult issues. Books allow you to develop awareness of people outside your experience and develop a sense of empathy.”

Lana Koehler and I created Ah-Choo! as a read-aloud book. We used rhyme and repetition to enhance pre-reading skills and included rich vocabulary, such as “snuggled” and “feathered,” along with unusual animal names like Umbrellabirds, Takins, and a dog from Kathmandu.
But we also address two other issues that many children deal with: sibling compromise and allergies. The girl in our book has pet allergies and her brother goes to great lengths, a whole alphabet full, to find a pet that won’t make her sneeze. It’s both compromise and empathy; Ah-Choo! makes a great jumping off point to talk to kids about both.

Our target audience, the kids we thought most likely to read the book or have it read to them, was preschool through second grade. What we found was that even older kids enjoy it, too. One mother bought it for her six-year-old son, but his ten-year-old brother was the one who loved it the most!

Luckily for us, Sterling Children’s Books chose Ken Min as our illustrator for Ah-Choo! His wonderful colors and endearing characterizations really bring it to life. Combined with the rhyme and repetition, it’s a book that kids want to hear read aloud to them again and again and again…

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