Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Outsiders: Why You Should Read It With Your Kids

My daughter is recovering from a concussion so she is unable to do much of anything, including reading. As an 8th grader, she was assigned The Outsiders to read and her teacher suggested I read it to her during her recovery. It’s been a long time. In fact, so long that I have decided I either never read it or just saw the movie. In truth, the only thing I can remember is C. Thomas Howell and Matt Dillon. So, what does that tell you?

But this book was so good; we read it in a weekend. I decided to let my son, 9, join us. He only lasted through the first chapter. In truth, the book focuses more on the main character’s insights and feelings than the action sequences. So, he got bored quickly. And it was good thing because this book deals with a lot of violence, death, complicated emotions and societal issues. What was I thinking? 13 is a much better age for this one.

The Outsiders weaves its tale of social class, personal losses, family, friendship and honor, choices good and bad, and the limited options of the poor. I don’t think my daughter will ever complain again about not having enough. To see the poverty, economic, cultural and emotional, that the characters experience is to peek into the lives of the very poor and disadvantaged. S.E. Hinton paints a picture with no violins playing in the wings. Her (yes, S.E. Hinton is a woman) story is raw and honest and wrenching. A fact your child might find interesting is that she began the book at age 15, finished it at 16. By her high school graduation she had a publisher. That in itself is an inspiration.

Reading this with your child is an opportunity to talk about class and bullying, about impulsivity and choices in adolescence and about hope. The theme of lost hope is another powerful message in the book. Do you give up hope or do you continue to look for the sunset? In truth, these issues are ones most teens wrestle with. Themes of how to fit in, what is your group, being cool vs. being honest about who you are and how you feel are all common issues of adolescence. Yet another reason this book resonates generation after generation. It understands adolescence.

Just last week a young girl in our community, 15 years old, committed suicide. She had lost hope after a loss. My heart breaks for her family, for her, for her peers. Hinton reminds us all not to lose hope, to see the beauty this world has to offer, to remember to keep believing. Try reading it with your teen. It will open up a whole new world of discussion, will remind you of the challenges of your own adolescence and will offer you and your teen yet another bond.

learn more about the book and the movie here.


  1. great thing you got to read that book. its a thing for kids (teens) to understand a life of another teen.


  2. Teach Your Child to Read Today!

    Reading is one of the most important skills one must master to succeed in life. It helps your child succeed in school, helps them build self-confidence, and helps to motivate your child. Being able to read will help your child learn more about the world, understand directions on signs and warnings on labels, allow them to discover reading as an entertainment, and help them gather information.

    Learning to read is very different from learning to speak, and it does not happen all at once. There is a steady progression in the development of reading ability over time. The best time for children to start learning to read is at a young age - even before they enter pre-school. Once a child is able to speak, they can begin developing basic reading skills. Very young children have a natural curiosity to learn about everything. They are naturally intrigued by the printed texts they see, and are eager to learn about the sounds made by those letters. You will likely notice that your young child likes to look at books and thoroughly enjoys being read to. They will even pretend to behave like a reader by holding books and pretend to read them.

    At what age can you start teaching a child to read? When they're babies? At 2 years old, 3, 4, or 5 years old, or wait until they're in school?

    If you delay your child's reading skill development until he or she enters school, you are putting your child at risk...

    Did you know that 67% of all Grade 4 students cannot read at a proficient level! According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, of those 67%, 33% read at just the BASIC level, and 34% CANNOT even achieve reading abilities of the lowest basic level!

    There is a super simple and extremely effective system that will even teach 2 and 3 year old children to read.

    This is a unique reading program developed by two amazing parents and reading teachers, Jim and Elena, who successfully taught their four children to read before turning 3 years old. The reading system they developed is so effective that by the time their daughter was just 4 years 2 months old, she was already reading at a grade 3 level. They have videos to prove it.

    >> Click here to watch the videos and learn more.

    Their reading system is called Children Learning Reading, and it is nothing like the infomercials you see on TV, showing babies appearing to read, but who have only learned to memorize a few word shapes. This is a program that will teach your child to effectively decode and read phonetically. It will give your child a big head start, and allow you to teach your child to read and help your child develop reading skills years ahead of similar aged children.

    This is not a quick fix solution where you put your child in front of the TV or computer for hours and hope that your child learns to "read"... somehow...

    This is a reading program that requires you, the parent, to be involved. But the results are absolutely amazing. Thousands of parents have used the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach their children to read.

    All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes a day.

    >> Click here to get started right now. How to Teach a 2 or 3 Year Old to Read.