The purpose of the First Lady’s READ20 Book Club is to give Tennessee families a fun goal of reading together with their children for 20 minutes every day. One book will be selected each month as the featured “Book of the Month,” but we encourage you to continue reading other books after you’ve finished our featured book.
The book club is for children and families of all ages! Whether a fifth grader reading independently, or a younger child being read to by an adult or older sibling, the featured books will appeal to a broad group of elementary-aged children and their families.
By Jerry Spinelli
Mongoose, Brenda, Sonseray, and April have nothing in common...until a mysterious blue card appears as if by magic and begins to change each of their lives. None of them guesses it at first, but that strange blue card will be their ticket to the past—and to a future that they never imagined. In stories that range from humorous to heartbreaking, Newbery-award-winner Jerry Spinelli reveals the amazing possibilities lurking behind library doors.
Does your family have a library card? If not, then be sure to visit your local public library to apply for a free library card. Most libraries require that you have a photo ID and proof of local address, so be sure to check your library’s application instructions (http://www.publiclibraries.com/tennessee.htm) before your visit! You can use your card to borrow books and DVDs, use a computer, download eBooks and music, search electronic databases, browse the internet and more.
Spinelli’s The Library Card shows us that books can change lives in powerful ways by sharing knowledge and growing imagination. Describe how the library card changes each of the four main characters in the book. How do books affect their lives immediately? How do you think their lives will be affected in the longer-term future?
Create a mystical library card of your own, and write a short story about where and with whom your card ends up. Be sure to include how the library card might change the life of the person who discovers it!
Visit your local library (http://www.publiclibraries.com/tennessee.htm) to find out more about its summer reading program. This year’s statewide summer reading theme for children is “Dig into Reading.” Many libraries have fun activities planned for families throughout the summer that you will not want to miss! Be sure to check out a book or two while you are there to enjoy with your family at home.
Reading is the basic tool for success in school, work, and life and must be promoted early in childhood. The First Lady’s READ20 Book Club encourages Tennessee children and families to read aloud each day to help young children develop a larger vocabulary, a longer attention span, better listening skills, and a solid reading foundation. Reading together will also build stronger relationships and will be fun.
Research demonstrates that reading with a child during the preschool years has a ripple effect which positively impacts the child, the family, the schools, and society as a whole through increased economic development, reduced special education, and reduced criminal justice costs.
1 Anderson, R.C., Wilson, P.T., Fielding, L.G. (1988). “Growth in Reading and How Children Spend Their Time Outside of School,” Reading Research Quarterly, 23(3), pp. 285–303.
2 National Institute for Literacy, 1998. [(Arizona Republic (9-15-2004)].
3 U.S. Department of Education.
5 National Adult Literacy Survey, (1002) NCES, U.S. Department of Education.