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Whether in day care or at home, chances are your young child will end up watching "Sesame Street" once or twice a day. For almost 30 years, the program has been a major part of early childhood, praised for raising the letter- and word-recognition skills of kindergarten kids, condemned for packaging everything into spots as short as 10 seconds.

Yet "Sesame Street" does help young children start reading - and so do the Sesame Street books, published by Golden Books. These inexpensive spin-off books use characters such as Big Bird and Grover from the series. The quality of the books varies enormously, but all have an automatic appeal since your child will have seen the characters on television. My favorites: "Big Bird's Big and Little Book," and "The Monster at the End of This Book."

- From "Raising a Reader," by Paul Kropp

Pub Date: 12/30/98

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