Your Kids Need to Spend Some Time with a Head Pincher

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Storyteller and Children's book author Carmen Deedy plays rabbit ears with some third graders

Getting every kid in Georgia on the path to reading proficienly is serious and urgent business. But the act of reading has to be fun and pleasurable for them.

New York Times best-selling author James Patterson says there’s a simple but powerful truth that many parents and schools don’t act on: The more kids read, the better readers they become. So how do we quit making “read” a four-letter word?

“Give them books that they’ll gobble up—and that will make them ask for another,” he said. “Yes, it’s that simple. 1 + 1 = 2. Kids say the No. 1 reason they don’t read more is that they can’t find books they like. Freedom of choice is a key to getting them motivated and excited. Vampire sagas, comics, manga, books of sports statistics—terrific!—as long as kids are reading. Should they read on e-tablets? Sure, why not? How about re-reading a book? Definitely. And don’t tell them a book is too hard or too easy. Great Expectations? Absolutely. Finnegans Wake? Well, maybe not. And remember, books can be borrowed free at libraries.”

Nationally renowned storyteller and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Carmen Agra Deedy said she didn’t like to read as a little girl. A 3-year-old refugee from Havana, Cuba, she struggled with the English language growing up in Decatur, Ga. But Carmen discovered that when a book finds you and a story makes you laugh or punches you in the heart, “that’s when reading becomes more than reading,” she says. “It’s a place to go on a terrible day. It’s a place to go on a long, boring trip. It’s a place to go to learn things that no one else will tell you.”

And how did Carmen develop this love affair with reading? She says she owes it all to her family and a head pincher.

Spend eight minutes with your kids this weekend to watch this video and allow Carmen and her head pincher to ignite that passion:

Now share this video and get reading with your kids.

After that, find out about a statewide campaign to get Georgia reading, and make a promise to the kids in your life how you will join the campaign.