Early Literacy

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Research shows early exposure to reading can positively impact a child’s vocabulary and reading comprehension. One local author has a new book out with that goal in mind. Kim Bruck has written the book, “ABC’s with Joanie & Lola” to help children begin to read, learn the ABCs and teach them how to take care of a pet. Bruck will discuss her new book and early literacy.

TED SIMONS: Research shows that early exposure to reading can help develop a child's vocabulary and reading skills. One local offer has a new book with that goal in mind. "ABCs With Joanie & Lola" is aimed at helping kids begin to read learn the ABCs and teach them how to take care of a pet. Kim Bruck joins us now to discuss her new book. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon."

KIM BRUCK: Thank you very much for having me.

TED SIMONS: It is a fun little book. What age group is targeted here?

KIM BRUCK: It's really for younger toddlers, kindergarten, first, second. No set age group. Anybody can learn from it. It can help youngsters who are learning to read also.

TED SIMONS: Is this different from other early readers how?

KIM BRUCK: We have taken a little bit of a twist, as you mentioned. Instead of having a book about teaching them the ABCs, we try to educate more than that. That's where I think older, you know, older kids also can enjoy it. In that it teaches a child about caring for a pet. Everybody wants a dog, but then they get it and don't realize that you have to walk it and brush their hair. But it also teaches you a little about the basset hound breed itself.
TED SIMONS: You're big in basset hound aren't you?

KIM BRUCK: Yes I used to run the basset rescue locally.

TED SIMONS: Well Joanie and Lola are both basset hounds -- Starting with the letter A, interesting when I see a book that teaches kids how to read, the letter A isn't even a word. What's going on here?

KIM BRUCK: Like we said, we want to make it fun. Reading, I think, has to be fun to engage children today. When basset talks to you they "Arooo". They have that howl that unique way of communicating.

TED SIMONS: Every letter of the alphabet goes on to have some aspect of taking care of and being involved with a pet, a basset hound in this case.

KIM BRUCK: Right, a basset hound. It could be any type of breed that they want to go out and adopt or purchase. You know, some things like H is for hair. Brushing their hair. Taking them to the veterinarian.

TED SIMONS: And B is for belly rubs.

KIM BRUCK: Yes, B is for belly rubs. I think any dog likes belly rubs. So again it doesn't have to be directed towards the actual--

TED SIMONS: The illustrations here -- when you are dealing with kids this age, they have to grab them. It has to work.

KIM BRUCK: You know, I am so blessed. Kathy Brady is the illustrator. She is also local. She just did a phenomenal job at capturing the dogs, and Joanie and Lola are our bassets actually our that passed away this year.

TED SIMONS: I'm sorry to hear that. But they have quite the legacy here.

KIM BRUCK: Yes, they do.

TED SIMONS: Good for them -- Why did you write this book?

KIM BRUCK: Originally I did it because I am like wouldn't it be fun to write a book? As I started to think of ideas, I wanted to give back to the community. All proceeds from the book are actually going to nonprofits that work with children and/or animals. I'm looking to partner with nonprofits and work with them on giving back to their organization. So, it stems from learning to helping educate children about caring for an animal. And then giving back.

TED SIMONS: And as far as inspiration now. Even writing an ABC book for little toddlers, you must have looked at a few before or -- what kind of inspiration did you have?

KIM BRUCK: You know, I don't have kids, but I love kids. I have a lot of friends that have kids. I had nieces growing up. And I loved reading to them. You know. And then when they got to the age they could read, I loved having them read to me, too. It comes from seeing how children evolve through a book.

TED SIMONS: Right.

KIM BRUCK: How they learn through a book. And how a book can be used to teach them so many things. And that sets the stage for their future. It really does.

TED SIMONS: When the book was first put out and you had a chance to see kids with the book, I mean, it has to be feeling so good to watch these kids page through your -- I mean, keeping a kid's attention these days is tough.

KIM BRUCK: It is.

TED SIMONS: If they're paying attention to your book, that's a good feeling.

KIM BRUCK: Yes, yes. It was cute. A friend of mine bought two books, one for herself and one for the niece. They were reading it. She said ok read the other one. It's the same. I don't care, read the other one.

TED SIMONS: Early childhood literacy, it is a big deal. If you can capture their attention by way of an animal, basset hound, it is important.

KIM BRUCK: In research they say you have to start from a very young age. From baby on you should be reading to them. They hear and they are absorbing everything that you say. It is important to start to read right away.

TED SIMONS: How long has the book been out?

KIM BRUCK: Two weeks. Hot off the press.

TED SIMONS: What kind of reaction so far?

KIM BRUCK: We had a launch party and sold over 80 books at the launch party and did a fundraiser for Gabriels Angels which I serve on the board for.

TED SIMONS: We have talked about Gabriels Angles on this show before. Where do you go from here? This is fun and a good starting point. Can you do ABCs in a different direction. Something with basset hound in a different direction?

KIM BRUCK: A couple of people have said you should do one on each breed. There has been a couple of ideas. Actually what I want to do now is work with schools and go out and read to the children, maybe bring in an animal to come with me and to be able to go out and read to the kids and share the stories.

TED SIMONS: I was going to say, you could probably bring a basset hound and do every letter of the alphabet. But watch out for "Arooo". You'll tear the whole building down with a basset hound screaming like that. Congratulations on the book. It sounds like a lot of fun and very rewarding especially when you see a little person reading that it must be really great.

KIM BRUCK: It is.

TED SIMONS: Congratulations.

KIM BRUCK: Thank you so much.

TED SIMONS: Wednesday on "Arizona Horizon," it is our supreme court preview show. ASU law professor Paul Bender joins us to outline some of the higher profile cases set to be heard during the high court's upcoming new session. U.S. Supreme Court preview at 5:30 and 10:00 on the next "Arizona Horizon." Reminder, if you want to watch tonight's show again or what we have in store for the future, check past shows, check us out at azpbs.org/horizon. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have great evening.

"Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Virginia G. Piper charitable trust. Committed to changing lives and strengthening community through investments in nonprofits and strategic initiatives. More information pipertrust.org.

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Kim Bruck: Author

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