Ever since doing my masters in librarianship, I have enjoyed reading non-fiction books on reading and reading development.
What I like particularly about The Reading Bug is that it is very accessible and easy-to-read, as it was primarily written with parents in mind as a practical guide to help their offspring to learn to love and enjoy books. Some parents find the idea of supporting their children with reading skills acquisition quite daunting and often find themselves at loss as to what reading material to suggest. This book is great at demystifying those issues and with Jennings’ signature humour and some great cartoons from Andrew Weldon, this is definitely an enjoyable read and nonthreatening help guide that cuts through educational jargon. The book is well designed and helpful: each chapter covers a specific subject and begins by a checklist of the key points that will be covered in it.
I found the section on phonics particularly useful because it is easily explained in the book. Jennings is of course an ex-teacher but I think his style also helps making this dreaded subject parent-friendly.
The real strength of this book however is that Paul Jennings continues throughout to demonstrate how reading can be kept fun and offers many useful suggestions to help parents make the reading experience for their children enjoyable, whatever type of reading they enjoy. I think this is vital when the educational context these days is so focused on testing and achieving certain grades.
There are mini-booklists throughout the book with a mammoth “Brilliant Books: Go Get Them” section at the back. This book was published in 2003 and there have been many titles published since then, so the reading suggestions are by no way exhaustive. However many of the titles that are listed will help build the backbone of a strong children’s home library.
(For a more up-to-date booklists, you can try the fantastic Ultimate Book Guides.)