Jason Boog believes in the power of curiosity and interaction. The way a child learns through reading is by interacting with the text – the content and format are not nearly as important as how you lead your child to ask questions and extend his or her reading experience beyond the text itself.
This Born Reading Playbook offers insightful tips from Boog’s own experiences as a father as well as from researchers with decades of expertise in the fields of literacy, child development, parenting, and education. I love that Boog put himself out into that rich community and interviewed everyone directly. He’s not just basing his baby-reading-advice on articles that he read and quoted haphazardly. Much of what he discusses might come naturally to a Reading Specialist; however, I appreciate his decision to lay out specific guidelines for each year of a baby’s new life from birth through age 5. Not having raised a baby myself, I had no idea the amount of changes that occur from one year to the next. He writes like a teacher – explaining what he’s about to write, then writing it, then explaining what he just wrote – but even with the verbose writing style, his debut book is packed with invaluable bits of advice designed to create curious, enthusiastic, and lifelong learners.
Boog includes questions to consider, websites where parents can access free books and free apps, and lists of books and apps that are appropriate for each year of a baby’s new life. His interludes (short essays about various topics) captivated me the most while reading. He gives specific advice about how and why to teach your baby sign language, how to make homemade books together, and also why the parent should master the art of storytelling.
It is apparent that Boog did extensive research before writing Born Reading. What is even more apparent is his passion and dedication to helping parents learn how to interact with their baby-readers. After reading this text, any parent would be able to replicate the interactive reading methods that he describes. It doesn’t take money or affluence to turn babies into curious learners or early readers, but it does take dedication and time on the part of each parent. Boog spends 336 pages sharing resource upon resource (including videos online that give good and not-so-good examples of what interactive reading should look like) to help new parents get started.
This book will now be my go-to baby shower gift packaged along with one of my favorite picture books. Since I know a lot of 20-somethings and 30-somethings having babies right now, I might just stockpile a few copies of Born Reading to get a head start! It is nice to know that finding a baby shower gift I’ll be proud to offer is now going to be MUCH less stressful.
P.S. I’ll be handing out Born Reading to my teacher-friend parents, too!
Released for Sale: July 15, 2014
Reviewed by: Allison Irwin, PCTELA Executive Director