JUST FOR PARENTS; Advice and strategies to help your children read


Students vote for outstanding books

Editor's note: Jerdine Nolen highlights the ninth annual Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Awards Program. Her column appears biweekly.

Every spring since 1992 students from across the state have cast votes on outstanding books as part of the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Awards Program. It promotes literacy as well as lifelong reading habits. Sponsored by the Maryland Educational Media Organization, the program encourages children to read contemporary literature chosen from pre-selected book lists.

The Black-Eyed Susan award program has four categories: Picture Book, grades 4-6, grades 6-9 and high school readers. To participate, students must read or have read to them a minimum of eight of the 15 picture books nominated. To participate in books for grades 4-6 and 6-9, students must read or have read to them a minimum of three nominated novels. Each student has one vote in each of the four categories. Students can vote on their favorite book from the list.

Voting is completed around April 30.

For a complete list of this year's nominees, go to the Web site: www.tcps.k12.md. us/memo/bes9900.html.

* "Boss of the Plains: The Hat that Won the West" by Carlson/Mead

* "Grandpa's Teeth" by Rod Clement

* "Night at the Fair" by Donald Crews

* "The Scrambled States of America" by Laurie Keller

* "The Seven Gods of Luck" by Kudler/Finch

* "Black Cowboy, Wild Horses: A True Story" by Lester/Pickney

* "The Wolf is Coming" by Elizabeth MacDonald

* "Ghost of Sifty Sifty Sam" by Angela Medearis

* "The Giant Carrot" by Jan Peck

* "Thank You, Mr. Falker" by Patricia Polacco

* "Sassy Gracie" by Sage/Pratt

* "A Weave of Words: An Armenian Tale" by Robert San Souci

* "A Bad Case of Stripes" by David Shannon

* "Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems" by Judy Sierra

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education.

Reading, writing every day helps

READ*WRITE*NOW! is a federally endorsed, community-based initiative designed to improve literacy development in children. Basic principles include encouraging kids to read and write five days a week and to learn a daily vocabulary word.

Here are other suggestions:

* Read to and with your children 30 minutes a day, and help young children read along by finding letters and words on the page.

* Help them get their own library card and pick out their own books.

* Demonstrate reading's importance by making sure they have time in their day to read and by setting a good reading example yourself.

* Set up a reading area in your home and keep books within easy reach.

* Provide plenty of paper, pens, pencils and crayons to practice writing.

* Ask them for detailed descriptions of events in their lives to encourage them to think about storytelling and how tales are constructed.

Tricia Bishop

The Sun's readers tell their success stories and offer tips on encouraging children to read.

Cozy reading at bedtime

"Bedtime is the best time to read to my son. I bought him a small lamp. The room has just enough light, and it makes the occasion very cozy. Reading at bedtime not only provides us with a sense of adventure and learning, but also a time where we touch base on the good things that have happened that day. It's a great way to end the day for both of us."

-- Lori Robinson


Dressing up as story characters

"Dressing up as one of the characters in the books makes for a fun reading session."

-- Jessica Green


Make it interactive

"When reading to my children, I ask them questions about the story and ask them to point to various objects on the page. This way reading becomes interactive for them."

-- Mary King

The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on sunspot.net, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to sun.features@baltsun.com; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

On Wednesdays: The Just for Kids section with read-aloud story, puzzles and poster

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