A Cautionary Tale…

A Cautionary Tale…

My 10 year old daughter is an avid reader, and as she’s getting older, she’s reading more realistic fiction books with characters who are her age or a little older, which means they are often dealing with some potentially heavy issues. Now normally, being an avid reader of kidlit myself, or with the assistance of the Internet, I can usually be aware of the content of what she’s reading. This helps me to be prepared to have conversations with her or answer her questions about what she’s reading if necessary. However, recently, I got blindsided by a topic that I wasn’t even expecting…Santa.

Now, I knew the inevitable day would arrive when she no longer believed in Santa, and I thought I was prepared to deal with that. However, I was not prepared to have the conversation as a result of a book she was reading. So this is how it went down:

My child comes up to me and says, “Mom, you gotta listen to this, its so funny”

Me: “Ok, sure go ahead…” (half-listening)

Child: “…..and Mom slipped the truth about Santa on Christmas Eve. I cried myself to sleep and refused to open my presents in the morning…” Isn’t that funny?

(Child walks back to her room)

Me (delayed response): Wait? What?

So now of course it’s too late to mention it, so I had to come up with a different way to ask her how she felt about Santa, if for no other reason than to make sure she knows that her brother still believes.

I share this story not to encourage policing what your child is reading, but more to make sure you’re actually listening when they’re reading out loud to you. They could be giving you clues…

Keep #RaisingReaders

 

 

 

Raising Tidy Readers (Occasionally)

Raising Tidy Readers (Occasionally)

My daughter starts Middle School next year, but apparently all of the attitude and what not that comes with it has started early. *eye roll*

So, in my efforts to keep things sane between us, I’ve tried to reach my hand across the aisle. One way I did this recently was to “help” her clean her room, in a manner that was different than my normal repeated, increasingly louder, requests for her to do so. This time, while she was cleaning, I was in her room with her, not cleaning, but rather I was reading to her while she was cleaning.

We have been reading the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski for some years now (read about our love of the series here and here), but we had gotten behind on the latest one, Spill the Beans. There’s nothing wrong with the book, but we just keep getting distracted by other titles or I’m reading to both children, and he doesn’t want to read something we’ve already started, which I totally understand.

So this particular Saturday, as much as I wanted to attack my own to-do weekend list, I told my daughter it was time to clean her room, and while she was cleaning, that I would read some more of Spill the Beans to her. That seemed to appease her, and as you can see in the picture below, she went to work while I read the next 3 chapters in the book.

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Now as much as I would just prefer for her to keep her room clean day to day, I have come to terms with the fact that it won’t happen. And is reading to her while she cleans something I’m willing to commit to every weekend? Nah. However, it is something I can do every once in a while in my mission to maintain my sanity and also to keep #RaisingReaders. Just a reminder to take advantage of any opportunity to read to your children that you can!

Book Reviews–Spoon and Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Book Reviews–Spoon and Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Even as an adult, I love everything I’ve read by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, like not that I just love them for kids, but I love them myself.  I feel like I should have a Rosenthal shelf in my house. You can see my excitement about one of her last books, Dear Girl, here. Recently, thanks to a conversation with a colleague, I was introduced to two of her earlier books, Spoon and Chopsticks, which I think are great books for bedtime reads.

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Even though my colleague recommended Spoon to me, we read Chopsticks first, because Spoon was checked out of the library. Chopsticks is a great picture book all about the transition from only being able to function with a partner, to figuring out how to do things independently. It’s a great lesson for twins, siblings, or kids who have that one friend that they can’t do anything without. The message of the book is NOT that you can’t have a solid dependable partner, but more that you can be successful both alone and with a friend.

After what seemed like forever, we got to pick up Spoon from the library. Now in this book, our main character, Spoon, has basically decided that he’s jealous of his other friends. The knife gets cut things, the fork gets to eat all kinds of things that spoon doesn’t, and of course, you can’t beat the chopsticks, there’s two of them that get to hang out with each other all the time.  However, as we adults know, perception is everything. So as the story continues, we learn how the other utensils also wish they could do the things spoon can, such as eating ice cream. After we finished reading Spoon, I immediately asked my kids what the message of the story was, and they were instantly able to tell me, “be happy with what you have” and “be careful what you wish for”, which thrilled me.

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So, if you are looking for some cute, engaging, funny, and well illustrated books that will also teach lessons, these books (and really any other book by Amy Rosenthal) are the way to go!

*I recently found out that there’s one more book in this series coming out in February 2020–Straw! I’m so excited to see what we learn from that character.

 

They Are Never Too Old

They Are Never Too Old

My children are 8 and 10, are Harry Potter enthusiasts, have their own library cards, and enjoy reading independently. Now, for those who have read my blog before, it may seem like a random bit of information to share at the beginning of this post, but there’s a reason for it.

The other night my children and I read (and enjoyed) Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet, written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Jacob Grant. Yes, this is an alphabet book and my kids learned their letters a long time ago. But I saw this at the library and thought I would be interesting and grabbed it.

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Now this may surprise you, but when we settled in for our bedtime read the other night and I pulled out this book and read the title, there were no complaints. These kids, who  when reading independently are reading books with action and/or themes of bullying and friendship drama, had no issues with listening to a book about the alphabet. Why? Because just like as adults we have our guilty pleasure books or TV shows, kids sometimes like to just relax when listening to a story. Whether its silly, funny, or even what some may find babyish, a good story is a good story. Also, its just a relaxing way to end the day, so it doesn’t have to be complicated.

So, don’t feel like you always have to read a book that is heavy in content or equal to or above their own reading level. Sometimes they just want chill and spend some quality time with their adult, even if it is a book about the alphabet.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

Read to Them by Steven Layne

Read to Them by Steven Layne

Read to them
Before the time is gone and stillness fills the room again
Read to them

What if it were meant to be that you were the one, the only one
Who could unlock the doors and share the magic with them?
What if others have been daunted by scheduling demands,
District objectives, or one hundred other obstacles?

Read to them
Be confident Charlotte has been able to teach them about friendship,
And Horton about self-worth;

Be sure the Skin Horse has been able to deliver his message.

Read to them
Let them meet Tigger, Homer Price, Aslan, and Corduroy;
Take them to Oz, Prydain, and Camazotz;

Show them a Truffula Tree.

Read to them
Laugh with them at Soup and Rob,
And cry with them when the Queen of Terabithia is forever lost;

Allow the Meeker Family to turn loyalty, injustice, and war
Into something much more than a vocabulary lesson.

What if you are the one, the only one, with the chance to do it?
What if this is the critical year for even one child?

Read to them
Before the time, before the chance is gone.

 

Steven Layne is an educator and author who renewed my passion for helping children read as a classroom teacher, which then in turn fueled my desire when I had my own children to make sure I spent time reading with them. I happened to read this poem this morning and thought it was a good reminder as to why I write this blog. We all like to think and hope that our child’s teachers are reading great books to our children, but like the poem says, sometimes that doesn’t happen, at no fault of the teacher themselves. However, as parents, although we also have some of those same issues, i.e. schedules and the like, it is easier for us to find that time to read with our children, and we know the benefits can be endless.

Just some #morningmotivation! Keep #raisingreaders!