Monday, June 29, 2009

Read on

This blog entry should've been an easy one.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers has launched a blog to encourage young readers. In fact, the press coverage I saw billed B&N's Letter Blocks as a place where parents could get advice, family friendly recommendations, heart-warming stories about young readers and insights from writers.

Well, I visited. And the site I saw is long on heart-warming tales from writers and actors about the power of reading and becoming readers. The guest bloggers do mention books they loved. But the advice for parents about how to instill that love in their own children seems to be scant.

To be fair, those of us who are readers mostly find the love of reading by finding a story that transports us or knowledge we crave to satisfy curiosity. We might've been steered toward reading, but there aren't really any steps to the process. Someone nudged us, and we were drawn in.

I'm not really sure there's solid advice to give other than, "encourage, nudge, cajole, prompt, urge, etc."

If I can't recommend Letter Blocks on the basis of its sheer usefulness, I can recommend that parents read a few of the entries to be reminded why they fell in love with reading.

Here's part of the latest entry, from author Ridley Pearson:

"I recall with particular clarity one of my first visits to the Perrot Memorial Library in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, where I was raised. I relive the chill to the marble entranceway, so welcome in summer, the smell of the cloth and glue (I suppose) of the books themselves, tucked away on dark wood shelves with the Dewey decimal coding on their spines. The gateway to other worlds, especially, a few years later, the far away world of Rudyard Kipling. We had television in those days, but it was black and white, and the world of books was in living color, a world of adventure and intrigue and action and, for me, wonder."

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