Reading has always been an important part of my life, and I want to make sure that I instill the same love of books in my own kids. I firmly believe that success in reading translates directly to success in school — and success in life. That’s why I’m not going to depend solely on the local public schools to teach my kids how to read. Though we have some wonderful teachers in the district, they’re generally overworked and hamstrung by a curriculum that focuses more on standardized test results than on genuine instruction. So I’m going to supplement what my kids learn at school with extra reading practice at home.
One of the first things I did when my kids entered kindergarten was join a couple of children’s book clubs. Children’s book clubs allow me to purchase age-appropriate books that I can then enjoy reading with my sons as we build up our own home library. My boys love looking through the catalog to carefully choose their selections for the month, and they wait with great anticipation for the day when their packages will arrive. This is definitely a step in the right direction as far as developing a fondness for reading.
There are a lot of different children’s book clubs out there, all with slightly different membership fees and guidelines. It took a little bit of time to sort through the various offerings and find the two children’s book clubs that were best for my family, but I’m glad I did it. The books we get from each club are far cheaper than the retail price, and unlike borrowing books from the library down the street, we get to keep texts and really make them our own. I encourage my boys to neatly mark their favorite passages in whatever they’re reading so we can have fruitful discussions about the stories later on, which is obviously something that cannot be done with borrowed books. It can get a bit expensive buying all of these titles each month, but I consider it money well spent. After all, I’m basically investing in my kids’ future here!
Some of my friends wonder why I bother with children’s book clubs when I can just shop at discount retailers like Amazon.com. This is a legitimate question, but I’ve found that I don’t make regular purchases when left to my own devices. The selections from our children’s book clubs come each and every month, whereas I probably would not shop that often without a club membership. Other folks might do just fine with Amazon, but I personally prefer the club route.
If you’re like me and feel that cultivating a love of reading in your kids is one of the best gifts you can ever give them, then you might want to check into joining a few children’s book clubs of your own. I’m very satisfied with my decision and plan to keep my memberships going for a long time!
How often have you had the thought: “I know so much about this topic, I could write a book about it!” But you’ve never written that book, have you? Too often we find outselves not acting on the great ideas we have, and when it comes to writing a book, more often than not we don’t get past that initial great idea stage. But the truth is that it’s not that hard to write a book! If you think you could or should write a book, then maybe instead of musing about how fascinating your book could be, you should get down to it and start writing.
How you start will depend on what sort of book you want to write. What will your book be about? Selecting a topic is a necessary first step. Then, decide what the purpose of your book will be. You can write a book for about as many different purposes as there are books in the world… but generally an author writes a book for one of a few usually purposes. Your goal may be to entertain, to inform, to convince, to instruct or to provoke an emotional response (shock, or sorrow, for example). But you should not even try to write a book until you know for certain what you are trying to accomplish.
Once you have your topic and your purpose, the planning stage begins. Writing a book requires a tremendous amount of planning, but it will be well worthwhile in the long term. It will result in a better-written book, and the part where you actually write the book will be that much easier, because the challenging legwork will be done. When you write a book, your pre-planning serves as a roadmap. Not having a plan is like driving in complete darkness. You just won’t know where you’re going!
To plan the book you’re going to write, you must consider your purpose. What will be the best way to accomplish that purpose? You may need to do some serious research before you write a book. Research may include reading other published books, searching through magazine and newspaper archives, studying primary sources, and possibly contacting and interviewing experts. If your book is a personal memoir or work of fiction, you can write the book without too much research. But you must still consider how you can write a book which best communicates the ideas and has the effects you’re hoping to have. A funny memoir should highlight the humor in your experiences; a tragic personal narrative should linger more on the difficult and trying times you’ve been through.
Once you’ve created an outline, go ahead and start writing. You’ll find that if you just get started, you can write a book quickly and let the ideas flow. Before you know it you’ll have a first draft of a manuscript. It’s really not that hard to write a book. The trick, really, is to get started!