Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook FAQs
- Has the book been updated since it was first published?
- I know many Web sites that deal with books receive
money or royalties for linking to book store Web sites like
Amazon. Does Jim have such agreements for the books he recommends?
- Is there a Spanish language edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook?
in the Handbook?
It's divided into two parts: the first half contains the "ways" and "whys" of
raising readers; and the last half consists of an annotated
bibliography (The Treasury) of almost 1000 children's books for reading
aloud, from picture books to novels and anthologies, with synopses on hundreds
of the stories and guides to the age of the audience for which
it was written.
At the bottom of this page, you'll find the Handbook's
Table of Contents for easy browsing. The book's contents can
also be viewed by subject matter. In addition, each web chapter consists of
several excerpts from that print chapter but keep in mind the
excerpt represents only about 15 percent of the actual chapter.
did a parent come to write the book?
You can find a detailed explanation of the book's history at
About Trelease. But in a nutshell, the book grew out of his
experiences as a parent and school volunteer. When he saw the dramatic
difference in reading attitudes and abilities between children who were
read to and those who were not, Trelease investigated the subject in
reading research, found a wealth of support, and then wrote a book on
the subject. The first edition was self-published, but by 1982, Penguin
USA had spotted it and published a greatly expanded version.
In 1983, the book spent 17 weeks on The New York
Times bestseller list and has sold almost two million copies
to date, including American, British, Chinese, Australian,
Korean, Spanish, and Japanese editions. The foreign editions are not available
from either Jim or in the U.S., unfortunately.
is the Handbook's intended audience?
Parents, teachers, librarians, grandparents, literacy volunteers,
day care providers—anyone interested in passing the torch of
literacy from one generation to the next and touching the
lives of children in a tender and lasting manner. Additionally,
more than 60 colleges and universities use the book as a text for
does this Web version differ from the print edition of
The actual book contains 400 pages, more than this web site
can accommodate. Posted here is a representative sample of the book's
contents, excerpts from the research and anecdotes in its chapters,
and a listing of books from the Treasury of Read-Alouds.
the book been updated since it was first published?
The first edition was actually self-published in 1979. After
that came larger editions, published in paperback by Penguin
in 1982, 1985, 1989, 1995, 2001, and most recently in 2006.
With each edition, new research is added to the main text,
along with fascinating anecdotes that Trelease has encountered
in his lecture travels and readings, with the text changing
about 70 percent between editions. Also, the Treasury is updated
each time, with new titles added and out-of-print books deleted.
A gallery of past covers and details can be found here at
know many Web sites that deal with books receive money or
royalties for linking to book store Web sites. Does Jim
have such agreements for the books he recommends?
As a former journalist, Jim is a firm believer in the adage:
If you sleep with the elephants, you can't cover the circus. Therefore,
he has no agreements of any kind with any Web sites or book publishers,
with the exception of his own publisher (Penguin Putnam Inc.) and that
one is for the standard author-publisher contract only. Any book recommended
in either the Handbook or Web site is mentioned strictly on the basis
of merit or personal preference.
familiar with Jim's Handbook but not his other
two books. What are they about?
Both volumes are Penguin anthologies of his favorite read-alouds
and both have become bestsellers. Hey! Listen
to This contains
48 stories aimed at kindergarten through fourth grade, while
Read All About It! has 50 stories for the preteen and teen
audience (5th grade into high school). The latter includes
short stories, human interest newspaper articles and columns,
and some self-contained chapters from novels. As editor of
the two collections, Jim chose the stories and wrote author
profiles containing unique material publishers too frequently never
provide on book jackets. Excerpts can be found from both books at Hey! Listen to This and Read
All About It!
can people in remote or rural areas obtain Jim's books?
Since they are published by Penguin, one of the world's oldest
and most prestigious publishers, they are available wherever
books are sold and certainly can be ordered if they are not
on the shelf. Additionally, you
also can order any of his books or audio/video materials through
his office. All books ordered that way can be autographed if
so requested. In the continental U.S., orders of 10-19 copies
are shipped postage free; orders of 20-39 are discounted by $1.00
and also shipped postage free; and orders of 40 or more are discounted
by $2.00 and shipped postage free. An order form for his books
can be found at ORDER FORM; fill
out the form and fax it to Jim Trelease at: 413-782-0862.
own a copy of Jim Trelease's book. Is there an easy way
to get it autographed?
The easiest way, short of attending one of his lectures and
having him sign it after the program or buying the book directly from
his office (see question above), is to do the following: Send him a
personal note listing to whom you wish it autographed, enclose a self-addressed,
stamped envelope (#10 size), and mail that to: Reading Tree Productions,
51 Arvesta Street, Springfield, MA 01118-1239. Jim will then autograph
a self-adhesive bookplate and mail it to you. This will save you the
expense of shipping the actual book back and forth.
there an audio book version of the Handbook?
At the moment, the closest thing in audio to the book is the
audiocassettes/CD's of his lectures.
But there is no direct reading of the book itself. As for
the Rawls recording, that is available exclusively from Reading
Tree Productions and this Web site. Click on Rawls for more
written a book that my friends tell me is pretty good. Does
Jim ever look at unpublished manuscripts and give evaluations?
The major publishers annually
send Jim more than 2000 children's books to review. He has
a hard enough time reading all of those, never mind what
hasn't been published yet. There really is no way he can
accommodate such requests and must regretfully say No. The
best ways are still these two: Stop fearing rejection and
send it to a publisher; or send it to an agent and still
deal with possible rejection. The
Read-Aloud Handbook, currently with nearly 2 millions copies
in print, was initially turned down by six major publishers.
Dr. Seuss's first book, And to Think That
I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 26 publishers. For
the names of agents and/or publishers, check out the Literary
Market Place at your local public library.
Jim give me a list of good books on the Plains Indians for a class
unit? And other curricula-oriented questions . . .
Jim has enough
to do in his own job without usurping your job, or the
jobs of your school librarian and the supervisor for curriculum,
both of whom should be handling such queries. Indeed, if
he accepted such tasks, he'd have no time to write or answer
legitimate mail. But thanks for asking.
there a Spanish edition of the Handbook?
The Spanish translation of THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK ( Manual de la lectura
en voz) is published in Columbia, South America by Fundalectura of Bogata,
Columbia. (Data below). Unfortunately it is not available in the U.S. and a number
of U.S. educators have told me of their frustration in trying to order from the
Columbian publisher. Unfortunately, that is something over which I have no control
at the moment. Any Spanish publisher wishing to publish the book in Spanish in
another country would be heartily encouraged by me.
Book title: Manual de la lectura en voz
Author: Jim Trelease
Fundacion para el fomento de la lectura
Avenida (calle) 40 N 16-46
Price: 35,000 Columbian pesos; (USD 13)
Telepfono: 571/ 320-1511
Fax: 571/ 287-7071
Read-Aloud Handbook Contents
For a detailed table of contents, see Contents
This Web site contains only "excerpts" from
the print edition of
The Read-Aloud Handbook (Penguin, 6th
- Chapter 1: Why Read Aloud?
Explores the emotional, social, and academic reasons for
reading aloud to children, including a brief overview of student
scores and how the social strata mirrors reading scores.
- Chapter 2: When to Begin Read-Aloud
From birth to adolescence is the prescription here, and,
as this chapter shows, if you start early enough some astounding
things can be accomplished with children (including those with special
- Chapter 3: Stages of Read-Aloud
An examination of the stages in reading and listening comprehension
that children pass through, and how to stretch attention
spans beyond picture books or the level of TV sitcoms.
- Chapter 4: The Do's and Don'ts of Read Aloud
What you want to be sure to do and what you want to avoid
doing in reading to children.
- Chapter 5: Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)
Explores SSR and its impact on reading attitudes and thus
achievement, along with a view of computerized "incentive" programs
like AR and Reading Counts!
6: In Their Own Words
Parents and teachers tell their inspirational stories as they experienced read-alouds
with their families and classes.
7: The Print Climate in the home, school, and library
There is ample evidence connecting a child's reading scores
to the quality of his or her "print climate" —how much print
is readily available: the more print, the higher the scores.
8: Lessons from Oprah, Harry, and the Internet
There have been three revolutions in our lives during the
last decade that can teach us much about reaching child-readers.
9: TV, Audio, & Technology—Hurting or Helping
Along with some sobering new research on technology's
threat to literacy and a child's well-being, there also
are new ways for families to tame and control it. And
is any of it good for us?
OF READ-ALOUDS — lists and synopses
of hundreds of great read-aloud books
Picture books Fairy
Tales Short novels Novels Poetry Anthologies