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Vol 2 No. 2 • February 2015 • Julia Washburn, Editor

Is Reading a Pleasure or Obligation?

A common thread emerged as I reviewed articles from the last six weeks. We value reading, but for various reasons, we may be losing the joy of reading. Here are a few ideas to rekindle the pleasure.

When children are young, we read out loud to them, pushing them toward reading independence. Pam Allyn, founder of suggests keep reading aloud. "Marinate children in higher-level vocabulary.” Additionally, youngest readers may flourish when challenged to think about their thinking while reading. Professor David Mikics advocates slow reading that, according to high schooler Matthew Baughman, helps us become better readers and enriches our life. 

And finally, book reviewer Jennifer M. King shares how, on her journey through school, her graduate degree, and eventually her teaching profession, she became bound by compulsory reading, leaving pleasure reading only for breaks.Then she read about the value of modeling reading for her students. "If we want our students to be readers, we need to show them that we are readers."

What Kids Want to Read

In a recent survey of 1000 parents with kids ages 6-17, 43 percent of those kids said they want books that teach them something new. Nonfiction often fits that bill. When nonfiction writers Bob Probst and Kylene Beers paid attention to what they did while reading nonfiction that they didn’t do while reading fiction, it came down to one word: “Really?"

Spot Light Books - January 2015

Here are 12 nonfiction titles that may "teach them something new" and perhaps elicit a collective “Really?" Some of these books are novel in their approach to conveying information, while others inspire by exquisite writing, sound reasoning, and well-balanced visual design and historical retelling.

Check out our Spot Light: February 2015 for publisher summaries and reviews of these titles.

You may also enjoy visiting The Nonfiction Detectives, a site dedicated to children's nonfiction titles.


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