Sunday, June 27, 2010

To Gladney's Families

Since my arrival in Ethiopia, reading with your children has been a pleasure and joy. Every day they astound me as they make connections and grow exponentially!

Reading aloud has been deemed “the single most important activity” for the growth and development of children, both cognitively and emotionally. Reading is truly an enjoyment based activity. Just as we talk to children to reassure, entertain, bond, explain or inspire, we can read to accomplish all these feelings and more. Reading builds vocabulary, it creates a natural opportunity to connect with children focusing around something pleasant and it creates the groundwork for life-long reading, life-long learning.

My goals are simple. Primarily I want your children to enjoy reading, to enjoy their time with me while actively learning. With the use of board books, I am exposing them to colors, numbers, animals, the alphabet, and more; but all that comes secondary to just hearing words as I read and connecting them to the illustrations. Even if this connection is unconscious, on some level it is there and will be retained. Later, the need for illustrations decreases as the imagination takes over.

My second and most important goal is to ease the transition of your children from our Foster Care to their home with you. Incorporating reading time with your child will create a familiar and enjoyable link.

They are always excited to see me walk into their room with my pile of reading material. I guarantee they will be increasingly interested to read personally with you and providing that time will be a wonderful way to simplify this incredibly huge transition.

I have compiled a list of the books we enjoy. The reading list below is divided into two categories: daily reads, which they will practically know by heart, and longer books that I incorporate less frequently for a change of pace, to add length and breadth to their attention span and to peak their curiosity of what might come. Plus they just love surprises! Although comprehension and familiarity is much less with these books, offering new material occasionally works to increase vocabulary and the children show a great interest in new illustrations.

As you already know, I cherish the time spent with your children. Thank you.

Daily Reads:
• Hand Hand Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins*
• Click Clack 1,2,3 by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
• Where Is Babies Belly Button? by Karen Katz*
• Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
• Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault *
• Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton*
• Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
• Hey! Wake Up! by Sandra Boynton
• Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
• Oh My Oh My Dinosaurs by Sandra Boynton*
• But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
• Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton

Periodic Reads:
• How Do I Love You? by Marion Dan Bauer
• Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
• One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
• ABC by Dr. Seuss
• Go Dogs Go! by Dr. Seuss
• The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
• Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
• The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
• What’s Wrong Little Pookie? by Sandra Boynton
• Lets Dance Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton
• He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands by Kadir Nelson*

*Indicates children’s favorites!

For more information and detailed research on the read-aloud program check out:


  1. Zadie, our daughter, has been home for about 6 weeks now, and we LOVE Sandra Boynton books! :)

  2. This is GREAT info! I will definitely stock up on these books for when our Little Man comes home to help his transition! Thank you for reading to and loving on our children!

  3. Thank you so much for doing this! We love reading to the children we already have at home and I'm so excited to hear the little girl we are on the wait list for is developing a similar love of books! Many of the titles you listed are our regular family favorites! It makes me so happy to imagine that she may recognize them when we get her home during a time when so much will be unfamiliar, at least we can read some familiar books!

  4. Thank you so much! It is such a great joy to hear how much love and attention our little boy is getting while he waits to come home! We have several of these books, but I will definitely be looking for the rest of them! Thanks again for reading with and loving on our children!