What were my kids born to do? That is the question I hope to help them answer. And because reading is the thing I love most, it's only natural for me to hope it will become something they love, too...The trouble is that reading is a particularly slippery passion to want to pass along because it's a skill most parents would agree their children have to master, to one degree or another.
--from Raising a Reader
Can passion be passed along from parent to child? Can you, in other words, make someone love baseball, ballet or books? Of course you can't - but that doesn't stop parents from trying. Jennie Nash was one of those parents - a parent so obsessed about getting her kids to read that her desire sometimes strayed into desperation; her hope often became an obsession; and instead of helping, her resolve got in the way. In the end, she found that, like so many of the things we do as parents, passing along a passion for reading happens in the push and pull of digging in and letting go, day in and day out, both because of and in spite of our efforts.
Nash shares stories and misadventures from the years when her young daughters were learning what it meant to have a relationship with words--and she was learning to let them. She reminds us how the magic moments happen in their own sweet time, by being together in the presence of good books and seeing each child as unique.
Each chapter of Raising a Reader ends with personal, practical tips and games that spring straight from the narrative. A comprehensive index discusses many of the books Nash has enjoyed with her children, providing a year's worth of titles for parents and their children to explore.
For parents overwhelmed with the many technical advice books written by specialists and teachers, Nash's anecdotal guide to getting children to pick up a book might be a refreshing change. Nash is not an educator, nor is she a learning specialist. She is, however, the author of The Victoria's Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming: And Other Lessons I Learned From Breast Cancer and the mother of two daughters, aged 10 and seven, who are both avid readers. Thus, her guide bursts with examples of her own personal frustrations and triumphs. As she reports on how she made progress with her children's literacy, she shares insights and practical tips, suggesting, for example, that parents and children both keep journals to track the books they've read. Nash's use of personal stories may not be the most scientific way to teach children to read, but it could help parents who are feeling desperate or frustrated with the task of cultivating literacy.