This column is presumably about screens, but I’m going to talk mostly about books. One book in particular: “The Monster at the End of This Book.” It’s a remarkable creation from the early days of Sesame Street that remains as fresh and entertaining as it was when I first encountered it 50 years ago. It is funny and surprising, but in my advanced years, I can see what really makes it magical. Through the hand-drawn illustrations, it gives you page-by-page instructions on how to read the book aloud. I defy anyone to try to read it without following those cues to get loud or soft, and I encourage you to try on your best Grover voice.
Once you read this book in all its (and your) glory, your path is set to throw yourself into all future read-alouds. Your kids will love those experiences deeply until they start to get embarrassed by you. At that point, go even more into character. They’ll say, “Fine, I’ll just read it myself.” Then you can take a bow and say, “My work is done. I have created an independent reader.”
For a brief mention of screens, this month, Austin PBS is airing “The Monster at the End of Your Story,” a special inspired by the book. It will be on broadcast TV, on pbskids.org and on the free PBS Kids Video app for devices and smart TVs.
Benjamin Kramer PhD, is the director of education for Austin PBS.