The idea for The Read-Aloud Handbook came about when Jim started volunteering in community classrooms at the same time as he and his wife were raising their two children and reading aloud to them every day.
He went on to examine the research and became fascinated by the evidence that reading could make such a huge difference in the lives and futures of children.
Jim initially self-published The Read-Aloud Handbook in 1979 but it was picked up by Penguin in 1982 and republished.
It then spent 17 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
Jim Trelease on Reading
But it's not enough to just read aloud occasionally once our children are old enough to talk. We need to start as early as possible, ideally on the day our child is born and we need to do it every day.
Jim Trelease retired from public speaking in 2008 but still maintains his website which is full of information about literacy, reading, books and the effects of TV on children.
If you’re a parent who’s even slightly interested in getting your baby or child into reading, set aside an hour or so one day and explore Jim’s website. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.
The Read-Aloud Handbook
I'd also like to suggest you try to get hold of a copy of The Read-Aloud Handbook. The book is not expensive and it's very easy to read.
Most importantly though, it really does contain everything you need to know to ensure your children learn to read easily and naturally and probably much earlier than you'd expect.
It will show you how to take the steps that will ensure that they become really good, confident readers and that they are successful at school.
I know that last one’s a big claim but, if you read the book, you’ll see what I mean.
Both the website and
The Read-Aloud Handbook
contain some amazing stories of children who were read to from an early age and their achievements.
There are also some remarkable stories which show the benefits of reading to children with intellectual disabilities.
Most libraries will have a copy of The Read-Aloud Handbook but it’s worth buying your own if you can.
It’s a book that you’ll probably want to read more than once and then dip into from time to time as your children grow.
It may be widely available in the US but here in Australia, I couldn't find it at our local library or in any of the bookshops I tried.
"If a child has never heard the word, the child will never say the word; and if you have neither heard it nor said it, it's pretty tough to read it and to write it."
Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook