"We're urging families to bring history home this summer by reading compelling stories about America's past," said BOOK IT! Program Director Eunice Ellis. "Reading about America's stories—including stories set in the past, stories about American heroes and stories about the history of sports and entertainment in America—are a fun and exciting way that families can appreciate the rich history of our country and hone reading skills at the same time."
Ellis points out while reading aloud is often associated with young children, a growing movement today encourages reading aloud to children of all ages. "Summer is a great time to begin reading aloud as a family, and it also can help keep children of all ages motivated to read on their own," she added.
The Library of Congress created an online resource, America's Library, (www.americaslibrary.gov ) for children and families to explore history through the theme of "America's Story." Sources from the collections of the Library of Congress are presented in five categories: Meet Amazing Americans, Jump Back in Time, Explore the States, Join America at Play, and See, Hear and Sing. Each section offers vignettes about the people, places and things that illuminate America's rich history.
"The stories from America's Library inspire families to read together about our country's fascinating past," said Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole. "'Telling America's Stories' is the Library's national reading promotion theme for 2001-2003. America's Library and BOOK IT! offer online resources that are designed to provide a fun experience for kids and families. It's a great way to have fun and learn at the same time," he said.
To complement the Library of Congress site, the BOOK IT! Families web site (www.bookitfamilies.com ) is featuring a summer reading bibliography themed to the categories from America's Library "America's Story." Visitors to the site can find a large selection of books -- many of which are available in local libraries -- on each of the topics above.
In addition, the BOOK IT! site provides tips for reading aloud and reading as a family, downloadable content for families to get started reading together and links to other reading resources. In keeping with the "America's Story" theme, the full Stephen Crane novel "Red Badge of Courage" and "Hero Tales from American History," a collection of stories by Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt, are presented on the BOOK IT! site. Additional stories will be posted to the site throughout the summer for family reading fun.