Shared reading makes her a star

schandler@newsobserver.comFebruary 2, 2014 

Hannah Bauer readers to her younger brother, Gavin, at the family’s home in Raleigh. Her habit of reading to her brother helped earn her the title of Scholastic Star Reader for February.

COURTESY OF HEATHER BAUER

As Hannah Bauer was reading to her younger brother one night last fall, an email pinged into her mother’s inbox.

The email from Scholastic Reading Club, a children’s book seller that also provides educational materials for teachers and parents, asked for nominations for Scholastic’s Star Reader program, and Heather Bauer knew just the person to describe.

She shared how Hannah, a fourth-grader at Wiley Elementary School in Raleigh, loves to read not only on her own, but also to her brother Gavin, 3. The nomination shined through at Scholastic, and Hannah was picked as the fourth-grade Star Reader for February.

“I like to read to him because I sort of like reading aloud,” Hannah said, “and I like sharing what I learn or what I think is funny or cool about the book, I like to share that with somebody.”

Sharing a book was also part of the Star Reader prize. In addition to getting to pick out 10 books from Scholastic’s catalog (“Now I have three shelves filled with books!” Hannah said), she was also asked to review a book for this month’s Reading Club flyer for fourth-graders.

“I like reading, so I was kind of excited about reading the book,” she said, “but I was also kind of nervous because I didn’t know what I’d be reading, whether I’d like it or not.”

She ended up reading “The Water Castle” by Megan Frazer Blakemore, and she gave it a favorable review.

“I liked how it was sort of a mystery but it was also realistic fiction,” Hannah said. “I liked how in the book there were kids who were sort of my age, and I liked them going on the adventure they had looking for a fountain of youth that can heal people.”

Hannah was nervous about the review, her mother said, but “I knew that she’d be up for the task. She’s a voracious reader, so I knew it’d be something she’d be interested in.”

The experience was a bit of a learning experience for the whole family.

“It was fun to sit down and talk about ‘How do you tell people about a book without telling them about the ending?’” Heather Bauer said. “It’s kind of a neat lesson in learning how to try to take someone’s perspective.”

On her own, Hannah, 9 (“I’ll be 9-and-a-half in February”), likes to read realistic fiction, fantasy, sci-fi and mystery books. In particular, she said, she likes the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “Fancy Nancy” series.

“I like to read poem books, too,” she added, citing Shel Silverstein as a particular favorite. “Sometimes in my free time I’ll pull those out and read one or two.”

When she reads to her brother, though, he usually picks the book.

“He has a huge bookshelf. We go around in circles.” Hannah said. “We’ve been reading a lot of Valentine’s books these days.”

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