Dean of Admission's Blog


Post # 4 Reading for life… a few great stories

In the United States, March 3rd was a national day in celebration of reading. “Read Across America Day” honors the legacy of Dr. Seuss, an author and illustrator of more than 44 books for children. It would be difficult to find a list of favorite children’s books anywhere in the world that did not include something by Dr. Seuss. His books capture the imagination of children and adults alike, and they are magical in their use of words, rhythm, and rhyme. Dr. Seuss’ stories are simple and complex; they help to teach both basic reading skills and valuable life lessons.

Thinking about Dr. Seuss and reading has me thinking about the importance of reading to children, and my own experiences reading to my kids over the years.  From the moment my kids were born, my husband and I invested a great deal of time (and pleasure) reading to them daily. While my daughter stopped allowing us to read to her when she was six or seven (we read far too slowly for her), our son let us read to him all the way through primary school. When they were young, we would have conversations about the books we were reading together. Today we still talk about the books they read on their own, and I relish the recommendations I get from my daughter about books she has read that she thinks I will also enjoy.

I think reading to my children has been an important part of developing their vocabulary, their imagination, and their appreciation for how to craft a thought or an idea. These qualities also have a great influence on their writing skills. Good readers develop a good ear for language and can recognize when their own writing “sounds” the way it should. My daughter’s fourth grade teacher had a poster in her classroom that said, “Readers are Achievers!”  I think this is true, but why?

Perhaps it has something to do with the thrilling moment when kids move from being read to, to being able to read on their own. That first act of reading a story all on one’s own is a powerful thing. Like taking one’s first steps, the ability to read a story of your own choosing, by yourself, is a huge independent step for a child, not only as a reader, but also as someone in control of their own learning. The excitement of reading is connected to the exciting of knowing things, of thinking about them, and of forming ones opinions—all key building blocks in becoming a reader—and a learner—for life. As Confucius said, “you cannot open a book without learning something.”

There are many studies today raising concerns about whether students (and adults) are reading less, and whether boys are reading less than girls. I think as parents of young children we can combat this trend by working hard to read to our children every day. We can help them to develop their love of language and their ability to communicate their ideas.

The best way to help children fall in love with reading is to give them great things to read. My son says: “you can tell a book is good if you wish that you were a character in the story.” I asked my kids to help me develop a list of favorite books that we (or they) have read over the years, from kindergarten to grade 9, and I asked my colleague Dai Min to give me with a list of Chinese books as well (please see below). I know that reading will play a key role in the learning that students do at Keystone, and our teachers and librarians will have many great suggestions to share with families in the fall.

It was difficult for our family to keep our list this short, but I’m pleased to say that we agreed unanimously on all the books, and especially the authors, that made the list. I hope you will comment and share your own favorite reads with us!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess
The Ant and the Elephant by Bill Peet
What do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley
Owen by Kevin Henkes

Grade 1
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

《三毛流浪记》 张乐平
《宝葫芦的秘密》 张天翼

Grade 2
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
《彼得·潘》 彼得·潘

Grade 3
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Half Magic by Edward Eager
《我要做个好孩子》 黄蓓佳


Grade 4
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Grade 5
Hero by Mike Lupica
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
NERDS by Michael Buckley
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
《狼王梦》 沈石溪

Grade 6
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
《童年》(俄)高尔基 著

Grade 7
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Uglies by Scott Westerfield

Grade 8
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
《青春万岁》王蒙 著
《边城》 沈从文 著
《月牙儿》 老舍 著

Grade 9
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
《傅雷家书》 (傅雷)

Posted by S. Liang on Friday May, 16, 2014 at 12:00PM


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Dean of Admission

Rachael Beare

Rachael Beare comes to Keystone Academy from The Hotchkiss School, one of the top boarding schools in New England, where she was the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid from 2008-2012.

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