University Experts Share 10 Reasons to Give Books as Holiday Gifts

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National Louis University’s Center for Teaching through Children’s Books provides age-appropriate gift recommendations.

Give the gift of reading, says National Louis University (NLU) and its Center for Teaching through Children's Books (CTCB). An often overlooked gift idea, parents looking to nurture love, positive values, intelligence and success in their children may find this through the gift of a book this holiday season.

“Giving a child a good book to spark their interest in reading is the gift that keeps giving throughout the year,” said Toby Rajput, assistant professor in NLU’s Reading and Language Program and youth literature librarian of National Louis’ CTCB. She recommends that parents, relatives and friends make sure at least one gift to their children is a book.

Rajput, along with colleague Annie Miller, CTCB project manager, share 10 reasons why books are essential to nurturing children and to equip them to succeed in school and life. For gift givers who are not sure of the best age-appropriate books, Rajput and Miller also have provided recommendations of quality books for preschool-Grade 3, Grades 4-8 and 7-12.

10 Reasons Why at Least One of Your Child’s Holiday Presents Should Be a Book
1.    Reading with your children will help them do better in school, employment and life. It can be interactive and improve their analytical and emotional skills, especially if you ask what they think will happen next, or why a character behaved a certain way. This is superior to watching videos, a passive activity.
2.    Children who read develop better vocabulary, spelling, grammar, comprehension and writing style, according to research compiled by Stephen Krashen, an educational researcher at the University of Southern California.
3.    Making reading a habit from your kids’ early years will make it natural for them to acquire good study skills and become good students.
4.    Stories can stimulate children’s curiosity, imagination and creativity, which will help them throughout their lives.
5.    Reading books with your children deepens your emotional connection with them and lets you spend quality time with them.
6.    Reading to your children gives them quiet time to calm down and lets them see you as a role model, leading to greater obedience.
7.    Picture books can help your toddler or preschooler with language acquisition and help them learn how to express themselves, lessening their frustration.
8.    Books and stories contain themes such as nature, science, history and sports, helping your child gain a knowledge base.
9.    Both fiction and non-fiction can help your child see the world through another’s eyes and develop empathy and compassion.
10.    Books and stories can promote healthy values and civil behavior by carrying themes of, for example, honesty, industriousness, respect for others, love of family and community, tolerance, patience and others.

About National Louis University
Founded in 1886, National Louis is a nonprofit, non-denominational University offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields of education, management, human services, counseling, public policy, and others concerned with human and community development. From its inception, National Louis has provided educational access to adult, immigrant and minority populations – a mission it sustains today. National Louis is well-known for an exceptional history in teacher preparation, and continues to be a leader in educating future teachers and community leaders to succeed in urban environments. For more information, visit http://www.nl.edu.

About NLU’s Center for Teaching through Children's Books
The Center for Teaching through Children's Books is a partnership between National Louis University Library and National Louis University College of Education. The Center for Teaching through Children’s Books is dedicated to excellence in teaching with quality literature for children and adolescents. The Center hosts exhibits, events and local author and illustrator showcases throughout the year. It is dedicated to fostering a community of children’s literature educators and scholars, considering multicultural and international literature a core resource for learning about the world, promoting social justice in curriculum and providing outreach activities to support librarians and teachers.

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Media Contacts: The Harbinger Group
Eileen Rochford, eileenr(at)theharbingergroup(dot)com, 312/953-3305
Kellie Kennedy, kelliek(at)theharbingergroup(dot)com, 312/933-4903

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