Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 23, 2009

For Parents – Richard Peck’s Do’s


1.       Give your preschool children literacy training.  Don’t worry that being able to read will leave them bored when they get to school.  They may be board either way.

2.       Read aloud to children as much as you can, and don’t stop even after they can read for themselves.  Books are bonds between you and them.

3.       Encourage and reward the memorizing of short passages.  Spoken poetry emphasizes the rhythms of our language and strengthens both speech and writing.

4.       Play vocabulary games with your children of all ages to increase their vocabularies and yours.  If your children aren’t communicating well with you, maybe they don’t have any words.

5.       Make sure there are maps in your house.  Geography is no longer taught in schools, and young people don’t read newspapers.  Maps, as well as being eloquent employers of the written word in one of its most romantic modes, remind the young that they aren’t the center of the world.  They need a lot of reminding of that.

6.       Make sure your children have library cards from their earliest years and feel at  home in the part of the library for them.  Give books as holiday gifts instead of toys.  Toys are a poorer value and harder to share.  Let your young equate gift-giving with reading.  They probably already have all the toys they’ll ever need.

7.       Let your child observe you reading: books and magazines and newspapers that reflect you own tastes and interests.  Independent reading is the badge of adulthood, of manhood and womanhood.  The young are hungry for the advantages of maturity.  Reading is one of them, and they can have it now, with your help.


  1. Great advice. I’ll send this link to my friends who have small children – I know they’ll appreciate it.



  2. As always, Mr. Peck’s words are amazing. (What? I don’t always have to make a joke. Jeez, guys.) May I humbly add three suggestions? 1. Whatever/whoever your child happens to be into, go to the library/bookstore and get books on the subject–your child will want to listen to/read them. (Better yet, take them with you when you go, and let them choose!) It doesn’t matter one bit if you don’t care for snakes, pirates, underwear, princesses, boogers, Barney (shudder), etc.–it only matters if your child does. Be sure to ask them questions about their likes/dislikes so you can keep up with their changing interests. 2. Borrow/buy brilliant books on tape/CD/MP3 performed by brilliant casts, and play them. In the car, on the home stereo, while grocery shopping, during quiet “resting” time, etc. See if your preschool/kindergarten permits the use of personal audio players with headphones during resting time, and send them in. Hearing dialogue will enhance communication skills, and picturing dialogue will foster imagination. Discuss plot and character development with your child, and be sure to ask them what they think will happen next. 3. When reading aloud with your child, move your pointer finger under the text on each page. At the end of each page (or at the end of the story), point out sight words, word families (cat, bat, mat, etc.), and invite your child to participate in word hunts “how many ‘A’s do you see?” etc. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they’ll start reading on their own! We lived/live this advice, and–thank every good thing in the universe!–we got a kid who loves reading. Good luck, and enjoy!


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