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- author Jackie French

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Review: The Reading Bug… And How To Help Your Child Catch It

Title: The Reading Bug… And How To Help Your Child Catch It

Author: Paul Jennings

Publisher: Penguin Books, A$29.95

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780143007456

For ages: Parents

Type: Literary guide

About: I have the reading bug. But how did I catch it?

It hit me at the first words in Jennings’ book. Before the first chapter, even before the table of contents - ‘To my mother, Phyllis Jane Jennings, from whom I caught the reading bug’. Jennings’ dedication brought back vivid recollections of family trips: Dad driving, with Mum, my sister and I each engrossed in a book. Dad, feeling frustrated, would often ask us to close our books and enjoy life. So lost in our stories were we, that if we happened to hear Dad, we would just stare at him in confusion.

You see, we were enjoying the world. It was just different to the one in which Dad was living. We were immersed in the lives of intriguing characters with names such as Matilda, Alice and Bilbo Baggins, their worlds full of love, friendship, heartache and humour.

That is the result of the bug. But where does it begin? I know I want my child to catch it, but how do I help her to do so?

According to Jennings, it all boils down to one simple sentiment. One that all parents have limitless amounts of - love. Jennings says, ‘Inject this into the reading situation and you will succeed.’ He tells us of the unspoken message we give our children when we take the time to read aloud to them: ‘You are the centre of my world’.

With a perfectly balanced combination of personal anecdotes and practical advice, Jennings shares his tips for helping parents to be involved in their child’s reading. He covers everything from choosing the right books for each child and assisting reluctant readers, to the role of gender and where computers should fit in a child’s life. Principles such as phonics are analysed in an easy to understand manner, without all the jargon usually associated with this type of book.

We are even provided with an impressive list of suggested books for every age group and reading ability level (also available at his website pauljennings.com.au).

Jennings uses his talents as a storyteller to guide us through the process of not just learning to read, but learning to love reading and books. His signature style - easy to read, straight to the point and, of course, that witty sense of humour, make The Reading Bug an enjoyable and useful reference guide.

Jennings’ passion for the topic is infectious, and even you will find yourself... well - catching the bug.

- this review by Megan Blandford of Writing Out Loud

Author website

This book can be bought online:

Fishpond - A$27.98
The Nile - A$26.99
Australian Online Bookstore - A$25.45