Friday, May 27, 2011

Read for the Heart--TOS Review

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.  Victor Hugo

If you know me at all, you know how much I love to read and how important it is that my kids love to read as well.  I have three favorite parts to my day: 1.) when I do read-aloud time with Amélie during our school day.  Right now, for example, I am reading the Newbery-winning book, Moon over Manifest, and I can't wait for that time each day to read to her to see what is going to happen next.  I also love it when she reads to me--at the moment she is reading Encyclopedia Brown, and neither of us is very good at solving those mysteries!  2.) when I read to Jack before his nap.  At the moment he is obsessed with The Three Little Pigs, so I read it  Somehow the story is new to him every day, and his enthusiasm for the story can't help but be contagious.  3.) when we read books to the kids before bed.  Jack picks out a picture book, and Matt is reading through the Little House on the Prairie books with Amélie.  We also find minutes during the day to read, and honestly, if I could spend my whole day reading I would.

Needless to say, then, I was thrilled to receive the book Read for the Heart: Whole Books for Wholehearted Families by Sarah Clarkson.  I have wanted to buy a reference book for good reading materials, because honestly, when I get to the library, I am sometimes both over- and underwhelmed with my choices.  This book has definitely helped me narrow down my choices and pick out some treasures for us to read.   

This book is not just a list of books, however; it is also a heartfelt and convincing challenge to read to our kids because of the reading's importance in our lives.  Clarkson's words at the end of the first chapter echo the words of my own heart: 

"I read to live.  Every book I've read and every story that has made itself a part of my imagination has taught me something about what it means to live life well.  I'm passionate about reading because I'm passionate about life.  Great stories influence the way I live in the here and now."

That paragraph nearly makes me cry.  sniff.  sniff.

Obviously, I am a wee bit passionate about reading.

And, not to tell you what to do or anything, but you should be passionate about you and your kids reading, too.  According to Clarkson, "Less than one third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, [and] 15- to 24-year-olds spend only 7-10 minutes a day on voluntary reading, [yet] spend two to two and a half hours per day watching TV" (32-33).  Scary.  Very scary.

There is hope, however, and if you don't know where to begin in introducing good books to your kids (or even if you do, but love to have suggestions) then this book is for you!  You can find suggestions for books in the following categories:
  • Picture Books
  • The Golden Age Classics
  • Children's Fiction
  • Fairy Tales and Fantasy
  • History and Biography
  • Spiritual Reading for Children
  • Music, Art, and Nature
Each entry provides a brief summary of the book as well as an appropriate age level.  There is also an appendix in the back with award winners and some of her favorite books. 

This book is available for $17.00 from Apologia.  You can even check out a sample chapter and the table of contents.  This is my last review for the year, and honestly, I think this is a case of saving the best for last.  Out of all the things I have reviewed this year--and there has been some great stuff--I think that I will probably glean the most value from this book. 

If you would like to see what my fellow crewmates are saying about Read for the Heart, check out there reviews here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was provided a free copy of this product for my honest evaluation. I was given no other compensation for this review.

No comments:

Post a Comment