Subscribe to The Horn Book

Earl Martin Phalen interviews Walter Dean Myers

Photo by Constance Myers

On a visit with our downstairs neighbors Reach Out and Read, I learned that their CEO Earl Martin Phalen blogs for The Huffington Post on the topics of early education, literacy, and parenting.

Phalen recently interviewed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Walter Dean Myers about literacy and his ambassadorial platform “Reading is not an option.” One of my favorite moments:

I was raised in a foster home and my mom was not a wonderful reader—she could read with her finger tracing the words. She would read with me maybe three days a week. I looked forward to that time—it was just mom and me. I wasn’t conscious of learning anything—I was just sharing the time with her. And eventually by the time I was four I was picking up words because she was reading primarily True Romance magazines. By the time I was five, I could sit there and read to her. And it was not something that I was formally learning or she was formally teaching me. It was just the time that we spent and shared together. . . . What I’m seeing is that many of the parents think you have to be a really good reader to teach your child. And that’s not true.

Read the abridged interview or listen to it in its entirety here.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind