Kid Lit Reviews is pleased to present author Dianna Winget. Her debut middle grade novel, A Smidgen of Sky (Harcourt Children’s Books), will be reviewed HERE! on Friday. Please give Ms. Winget a warm welcome.
Reading With Your Older Child
Reading with your little one has so many benefits I couldn’t begin to list them all. A flood of reports have shown that few things bond a parent and child more than cuddling together with a good book. But the emphasis is often on reading to your toddler or preschooler, in other words, reading with your child before he or she can read for themselves. But then what? Is there any point in continuing to read together? Absolutely.
For one thing, children have a “listening age” about two years above their chronological age. That means your eight year old will be able to understand and enjoy being read a book written for 10-12 year olds. So reading to older kids enables them to enjoy books they may struggle to read on their own. This can expand a child’s vocabulary and help him or her do better at school. As Jacqueline Kennedy said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your children’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
I was blessed with a mother who not only read to me when I was small, but who encouraged me to read to her as I got older. In seventh grade, my class was assigned to read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I moaned and groaned at first, as did most girls in my class. After all, how many twelve year old girls want to read about three teenage brothers in a gang? Well, suffice it to say my attitude quickly changed, and The Outsiders became one of my all time favorites. After finishing it in class, and raving about it to my mother, I asked if she wanted to hear it. Sharing Ponyboy’s harrowing, heartfelt story with my mom made the book all the more special, and reading it together is one of my fondest memories. Guess I should remind her of that.
By the time my stepson turned nine, not only was he totally enamored with becoming an elk hunter like his dad, but he became dog crazy as well–a perfect combination to enjoy another of my all time favorites–Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. I could have just suggested he read it himself, but instead, offered to read it with him, taking turns chapter by chapter. He fell in love with Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann just as I knew he would. And despite the fact that we cried most of the way through the final chapters, sharing the book out loud is an experience I wouldn’t trade.
When I was writing my own middle grade novel, A Smidgen of Sky, my teen daughter was one of the first to hear long excerpts. And her opinion and comments served as the basis for lots of fun “story” conversations between us. I’ll soon be sharing my current work in progress, True As Steel, with her as well. Talking about books makes for light, easy conversation at an age when communication can present a challenge! And even though most won’t admit it, teens need that one on one just as much as younger kids. “A great read aloud tells a teenager they are not alone in feeling awkward and uncertain,” says Ellen D. Rappaport, certified school library media specialist. “Through the characters’ fictional or real-life emotional journeys young adults learn strategies to handle social situations and conflicts resulting in their own increased self-confidence.”
So keep reading, I say! Read together for as long as your child or teen is willing. Your efforts may have far more effect than you think.
/To read an excerpt click HERE!/////
Dianna began writing at nine years old, when she would stuff notebooks under her bed to prevent prying eyes from seeing her wonderful masterpieces. It wasn’t until graduating from high school that she finally admitted her love for writing.
With the support of her parents, she was able to enroll in the Institute of Children’s Literature, a well-respected correspondence school. After completing both the basic and advanced courses, Dianna began selling short stories and articles to magazines such as Clubhouse, US Kids, Child Life, and Good Reading for Everyone.
It wasn’t until 2012, that Dianna realized her dream of writing middle grade novels for kids with the publication of “A Smidgen of Sky.” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Today, she continues to write children’s fiction from her home in the beautiful mountains of North Idaho. Dianna ‘s repped by Lara Perkins at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Dianna Dorisi Winget
A Smidgen of Sky is available at these retailers: