Nurturing a love of reading in children


Bookstore's Book Club helps parents get kids excited about books

Josh Hawkins / Chicago Parent files Finding a good book is an important first step in encouraging children to read.

As parents, we all know we should read to our kids. But not all books are equal. Maybe you have picked up a picture book, only to find it bored your child, dealt with too serious a topic or-horrors!-contained a swear word.

Giselle Walsh, mother of an 11-month-old daughter and aunt to several nieces and nephews, says her two worst book picks for kids were There's a Hair in My Dirt by cartoonist Gary Larson and Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. The first includes a swear word, she says, which means it is not appropriate for children even though it is marketed as a kids' book. The second, Walsh says, adults love but kids find boring.

That's why Walsh is happy she found Anderson's Book Camp at Anderson's Bookshop in Downer's Grove. The camp is not for kids, but for adults who have to choose books for children.

"One of my struggles was I didn't know the difference between a good children's book and a bad one," says Walsh.

The camp, which meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, has helped. In the session on how to get your child to love reading, Walsh says she found that a book's age appropriateness wasn't as important as whether it held a child's interest.

Another mom, Mary Wisniowicz, says she went to two book camps and both times came away with lots of information. "I went because I have a 3-year-old daughter and we want her to develop a love of reading. But when you go into a library or bookstore, there are so many books." She wants to start her daughter off on the right ones.

Kathleen March, the force behind the Book Camp, is a mom herself and knows the questions that come up. Her now 14-year-old daughter struggled with reading when she was in fifth grade. Although the problem turned out to be poor eyesight, March worried over which books would be best when it first seemed that her daughter was having difficulty reading.

March, now an Anderson employee, used that experience in designing the program.

On Feb. 9, the club will discuss how books can help in your child's character development. The March 8 topic is "It takes a good reader to be a good writer." On April 12, parents will get help dealing with reluctant readers. The May 10 program is aimed at parents of advanced readers. And finally, the June 14 session is, "It's summer. Now what?"

Sessions are free, but advance registration is required. Call (630) 963-2665. Anderson's Bookshop is at 5112 Main St., Downers Grove.


Merry Mayer


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