The movie theatre is also a terrific place for a reading circle. With a theatre's approval, set up a reading circle in the lobby -- a thick blanket, some pillows and a heap of books are all you need. Have the children read aloud in the line up and invite others to the reading circle while mom or dad gets the popcorn. Continue after the show, encouraging families to read up on the character, adventure or country they have just seen in the movie.
Children who say they hate books and reading will often be able to recite, by heart, lyrics and stories from their favourite bands and singers.
Rock music is full of references to legends, historical personalities, current issues and novels. Read the lyrics of your child's favourite singer and, together, explore the images and allusions. Get library books about rock stars, their home cities, etc. Write fan letters and join fan clubs. Read music magazines.
Rap music provides a great opportunity to read and to recite language that is intricate, compact and full of meaning and allusion. But rap music instead of a book? No, not instead of, but if your child overcomes an aversion to reading through rock lyrics, then he or she might get to the book.
Can democracy survive in a culture that doesn't value books or reading? If all we know about a policy or politician comes from a TV news story, can our political debates be fully informed?
That's why it's important to used this limited coverage as a launch pad for thought and discussion. Use news stories, political issues and personalities to provoke conversations with your children. Use books and articles to follow up on questions raised by the political commercial or 30-second news story.