I finished reading this over a week ago now. I've since finished reading Stephen King's On Writing, but probably won't say much about that. It was exactly what it sounds like.
The Read-Aloud Handbook, however, should be read by all teachers/parents, especially those with kids in elementary school. It discusses the importance of reading in education and literacy and the research that has been done on the topic. It also shares a number of memorable anecdotes and experiences from the author's personal life.
The largest takeaways are that reading is so powerful and that read-alouds should not be taken for granted. They should be done by all teachers, in class, every day, for most grades, in all schools, no exceptions. Read-alouds work like advertisements for the pleasure of reading books. They let children see adults reading and allow them to understand more than they would by simply reading on their own, as most children have a higher aural (listening) vocabulary than they do a reading vocabulary.
As children get older, of course it is acceptable to allow them to read on their own, but that doesn't mean adults should stop reading to them or talking about books they are enjoying themselves. Creating "life time" readers who are passionate about reading is the goal of this book and it all starts with young children and parents reading to them.
Along with many other worthwhile piences of knowledge in teh book, the author, Jim Trelease, describes the "Three B's" of getting children to read more:
These "Three B's" have connected quite directly to my own life recently. Although my life history of reading follows the research and experience talked by Trelease throughout the book, these "Three B's" have been completely encapsulated in the last couple of years with the advent of the e-reader. I first began reading e-books in Korea on the Nook, but have since switched to my smart phone. The e-book on a tablet or smart phone represents the ultimate in "Three B" convenience.
You have access to millions of books in the palm of your hand.
You have digital "book basket" in your e-reader library.
You have an LCD back-light that that works just like a book lamp in bed.
Between these three aspects of the e-reader, my reading has taken off in the last two years. I was always an avid reader, but since adopting the e-reader as my go-to choice for books, I have read 82 books in 2012 and 94 books so far in 2013 with more to come before the end of the year.
In wrapping this up, I didn't mean for this post to turn into an endorsement for e-books, but the endorsement was there to be made. I strongly suggest getting a copy of The Read-Aloud Handbook for yourself if you are a current or future teacher/parent, or if you know a current or future teacher/parent. That basically means everyone ought to have this book. Reading has absolutely changed my life for the better and this book gives me and anyone else who reads it all the information they need to explain how and why reading is so powerful for themselves and their children as well.