Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read

One of the first questions librarians ask when someone is looking for a book recommendation is “What are you interested in?” Finding materials at the correct reading level that also contain appropriate content is very important, but none of that will be of any use if the person reading, or being read to, isn’t interested in the story or the topic.

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read, by Curtis Manley and Kate Berube, is a perfect example of how urging someone to read won’t get you very far until you offer something that will capture the heart and the imagination of the pupil. Nick has two cats, Verne and Stevenson. They’re the best of friends, and spend all of their time together. But when Nick decides to teach them to read, the cats aren’t so sure it’s a good idea. Nick makes flash cards, and the fish-shaped one catches Verne’s attention, but Stevenson is still unconvinced. Eventually Verne is reading on his own, and even gets his own library card, but Stevenson continues to do his best impersonation of Grumpy Cat. When Nick discovers a hidden collection of pirate drawings under Stevenson’s bed, Nick and Verne know just what to do. They create a story to go along with the drawings, and, for the first time ever, Stevenson sits and listens. Soon they’re all at the library together, choosing more books, and later acting out the stories they’ve read, all over the house.

We’re often surprised when one child in a family is a voracious reader, and another could hardly seem to care less. Reluctant readers (and listeners) sometimes require a little extra effort on our parts, but trust me, that effort is worth it. While not all children, or adults, for that matter, will always love reading, starting with a book that will truly interest them is paramount to success. We can offer lots of recommendations if you're ever in need of them!

Guest post by Bridget W.

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