Archives: This is Your Kid’s Brain on Fiction

Let’s Unleash Readers to Conquer the Divide


“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

Ray Bradbury

Once in a while I eavesdrop on academics who talk about reading. The subject fascinates me so I don’t even try to resist leaning closer when I have a chance to listen in on their discussions.

So color me surprised when I discovered my favorite reading experts believed our children are in the process of segregating themselves into two reading groups: those who form the I’m-a-reader-but-I-don’t-care variety, the majority who read only for practical purposes while the other kids fall into the I’m-a-reader-who-cares-a-lot family, a minority who treasure books.

It’s what a team of researchers dubbed The Reading Class, a divide between those in the 21st century who read book regularly and others who don’t.

Learning about this “divide” was the equivalent of a five alarm fire. Man the stations! Get the books! Quick someone grab a copy of Fahrenheit 451!

That is until I realized the reading experts weren’t disturbed. In fact, their attitude toward the shrinking reading-for-pleasure group, was, oh, so, que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.

Yes, really.

The very people who best know the advantages reading offers, not only to elementary or high school kids, but also to adults, essentially gave a big fat yawn.

This puzzled me, to say the least. Don’t we all see reading linked with leadership, financial success, and empathy?

Teachers know it. Parents know it. Even kids know it.

“Kids of all ages see a correlation between reading and success.” – Kids & Family Reading Report, 2008

As the old saying goes, eavesdroppers seldom hear good things, and certainly I walked away with low spirits. Reading books cannot become a hobby for a few nerdy bookworms.

In light of that conversation, I ask you to make a point to share a book with a child today. Tonight. And tomorrow. Read together. Listen to a book-on-tape. Buy a book. Borrow a book. Lend a book. Download a book.

Let’s read so that books and recreational reading never becomes an adventure only a few enjoy.

Listen Up! Why audio books should be in your child’s reading diet

We all know reading is good for our children.mixed up files audio

Studies have shown time and time again reading benefits our children’s academic lives, their character development, and their emotional maturity.

Books are a uniquely portable magic.  – Stephen King

I’m confident one ingredient which helps children grow into avid readers is listening to books-on-tape.

Yep, that right. Audio books.


Because listening to a book, especially over and over again, instills a love for story without children realizing it. Listening to a story improves vocabulary and quietly records an appreciation for words and language deep into their reading minds. Plus, kids develop patience and imagination waiting for the story to unfold, much like their great-grandparents did listening to their favorite radio show.

I remembered all of this last week when on a whim I listened to the classic children’s story, The Mixed Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler. The story, written in the late 1960’s, is about a 12-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Too many times I’ve heard parents pooh-pooh audio books as “cheating” when they talk about their son’s or daughter’s reading habits. “Those don’t count!” they say.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Yes, eyes-on-the-page reading is important, and should never be excluded from a reading diet, but audio books offer much too.

So, in my opinion, if you want your son or daughter to grow into an avid reader, load up on the audio books.