Union University
Union University School of Education
Miranda Lindsey works as a student teacher at Medina Elementary

Education Story

Jim Trelease

January 31, 2008 - On October 11, 2007 Union’s College of Education & Human Studies Honors Society, Kappa Delta Pi, sponsored award-winning author Jim Trelease to our campus. His lecture address was entitled “Reading aloud: Motivating children to make books into friends, not enemies.”

Since writing his million-copy bestseller, The Read-Aloud Handbook, in 1982, Jim Trelease has traveled to all 50 states and abroad, advocating the benefits of reading aloud to children.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts ('63) and native of New Jersey, Jim Trelease was for 20 years an award-winning artist and journalist before turning his career toward education in 1979 when he began writing the first edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook. While working for a Massachusetts daily newspaper as an artist and writer, he began weekly volunteer visits to community classrooms, talking with children about journalism and art as careers. At the same time, he and his wife Susan were raising their two children, Elizabeth and Jamie. A daily ritual for Jim was reading aloud to his children, largely at that point because his father had read to him. Soon, however, the nightly ritual would coincide with one of his classroom observations. Most of the students he visited (about 40 schools a year) didn't read very much, but the ones who did nearly always came from classrooms where the teachers read aloud daily and incorporated SSR time (sustained silent reading) into the daily routine.

The Handbook is now used as a text for future teachers at more than 60 colleges and universities (Union is included in that number). In addition, the Japanese edition introduced the concept of Sustained Silent Reading (chapter 5) to public schools there, and it became the basis for more than 3,000 elementary and secondary schools adopting SSR as a regular part of the academic day. Now the grandfather of three boys and a girl, he resides with his wife Susan in Springfield, Massachusetts, a city in which he has lived since arriving there at age 15 from New Jersey, and happily discovered the city was the birthplace of both basketball and Dr. Seuss.

Related Web Resource: /centers/edpractice/news/trelease150.jpg