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Publisher: HarperResource
Release Date: January 6, 2004
ISBN: 0060510277
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
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Genre: Nonfiction / Education
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Brenda Weeaks
Reviewer Notes:  

The Between the Lions Book for Parents
By Linda K. Rath, Ed.D., and Louise Kennedy

   There are three classic educational children's shows on PBS: Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood teaches social behavior and self acceptance; Sesame Street teaches ABCs, how to count, and life's differences; and now, the new kid on the block, Between the Lions, teaches reading. Like the first two, Between The Lions is entertaining as well as informative.

     In fact, it’s such a hit, that the creators of BTL have created a companion book for parents. It has everything one needs to help a child discover, learn, and enjoy reading, beginning with preschool and ending with third grade.

      Be sure to read the Foreward by Christopher Cerf, who explains how BTL was created and what the creators went through to get the show approved. Acknowledgements are also important. They give credit to all who had a helping hand bringing BTL to life and getting it on the air, WGBH being at the top of the list. Another important section to read is “How to Use the Book.” At first glance, this may seem almost too technical, but don’t worry, the reasons will eventually become clear.

     The authors’ believe “children learn to read when they receive both instructions in reading skills and introduction to the value of understanding what they read.” Their approach, in both the show and the book, is “practical, comprehensive, and fun.”

    In the series, the writers use wonderful, lively characters to keep the young ones' attention. In the book, the writers use various methods to keep the parents reading. The chapters are marked by grades and throughout the book are patterned pages with vital information and explanations about reading, writing, and sounding out words. The patterned pages make for quick access.

      The book gives explanations of the five key areas of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. There are grade-by-grade guides for preschool through third grade, as well as information on reading and learning disabilities; also lists of resources, including books and web sites and a glossary. It's the most comprehensive companion book I have ever seen.

    Should you come across The Between the Lions Book for Parents in the bookstore, just glance through it and you will see why the show and the book have received rave reviews. Parents, be sure to do your child's preschool or elementary teacher a favor and bring this book to their attention.