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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers

Just 15 Minutes…

Read Aloud is a great organization dedicated to promoting caregivers reading to children, especially ages 0-5. Over the last decade, I’ve done each of these things in Read Aloud’s post with my young readers. In fact, just tonight we read a wordless picture book.

And especially when they were much younger, I can’t even tell you how many times I didn’t read all the words. (Mostly to speed up to bedtime. 😆)

There have been times, for a variety of reasons that we haven’t finished our #bedtimeread in one sitting. Most times its a chapter book, but there have also been picture books that have taken more than one night as well (though usually not more than 2).

And yes, especially with those funny books, I have done my own share of exclaiming when we were getting to the climax of a book. The Monster at the End of This Book is a great example of that.

No matter how you do it, I agree with Read Aloud. Just 15 minutes a day is a great way to start #RaisingReaders.

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Who would I want to be stranded with?

Now this isn’t your normal “Who would you wanted to be stranded on a desert island with?” question, because the “who” is a little more specific. Instead, the question is, “What fictional book character would you want to be stranded on a desert island with?”

I saw this question once a couple of years ago and thought it was an original one that was a head scratcher for me, so today I decided to ask my kids to see what their responses would be. I was hoping that their responses would give me some inspiration. Here’s what they said:

9 y/o son: A dragon.

Me: Which dragon?

9 y/o: Toothless

Me: Why?

9 y/o (shrugging): ‘Cause dragons are awesome and I want to be with a dragon. Plus we can escape.

Me: Good plan

12 y/o daughter (smiling): Percy Jackson

Me (eye roll & smile): Of course. Why?

12 y/o: Because I can escape.

Me: How?

12 y/o: Because he can do stuff with water, so I can escape.

Me: Alrighty then.

So, did they inspire me to come up with an answer? Sorta. I’ve narrowed it down to two (really three). First, Elephant and Piggie. I feel like they’re a team, so its got to be the two of them together. And although they have silly antics, things always seem to work out in the end, so I would enjoy my time until we figured out how to get off the island. My next choice would be Tristan Strong from the series by Kwame Mbalia. He’s got some serious skills, plus some pull with African folktale characters like Ananzi the spider that I think could get us off the island. And in the meantime I think he would be fun to hang out with.

Try asking your reader this question and see who they’ll end up on their island with. Feel free to share their (or your) responses if you get a chance.

Keep #raisingreaders!

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

The Kind of Peer Pressure I Can Get Behind…

My 12 year old daughter loves reading, and can become obsessed with characters in some of the series she reads. I feel like it is an absolute bonus that she has some friends that also love reading.

A while ago she was on a Zoom call with a couple of her friends, one who had recently had a birthday. My daughter was down the hall in her bedroom, so for the most part I couldn’t hear the content of their conversation. But then, the friend shared that she had received a gift card from Barnes and Noble and asked the other girls if they had any suggestions as to what she should get with her gift card, and MAN, did things get shriekishly loud after that question.

The girls emphatically told the birthday girl that she needed to get the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, and why that was super important. And when I say emphatically, I mean it wasn’t just a casual suggestion, they were making it sound like a requirement, with tons of supporting details. My daughter then proceeded to move over to her bookshelf so she could accurately tell her what else she needed to get with her gift card. In the process, my daughter also got some new book suggestions from the other two girls that she proceeded to tell me about after the gabfest was over.

Now after I finish a really good book or a friend asks me for suggestions, I do often do like my child did and go over to my bookshelf or look at my Goodreads account to get titles. But I may be missing the boat here, maybe I also need to emphatically screech at my friends to tell them what they should be reading? Either way, listening (eavesdropping?) in to this conversation was a case of peer pressure this mama could actually deal with.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers

We May Have Turned the Corner!

Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself, but I think my son has fallen in love with a new series, and maybe even a whole genre…

I’ve talked extensively on this blog about how I’ve handled the difference between raising my two readers, with my daughter being obsessed with books and my son…not so much. Now don’t get me wrong, he loves our #bedtimereads, probably more than my daughter, and is capable of reading himself, but its just not his first choice. But the tables may be turning…

In his class recently, they had to choose a science fiction book to read. Initally he chose The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown, which is an excellent choice. He was excited when he started it, but about halfway through I think he decided it didn’t have enough action in it for his taste, so he was looking at some other options. He came across the last book in Stuart Gibbs’ Moon Base Alpha series, Waste of Space, and became obsessed with the audiobook. Most of the time he was listening as he was falling asleep, and he was struggling to fall asleep because he kept wanting to extend his listening, something I had only seen his sister do up until now. Once he finally finished, he immediately wanted another book. I had to hide the shock on my face, and then my fingers began to do this…

There was no way I was going to let this moment pass without finding a new book for this child. He has decided that Science Fiction is his genre of choice and he prefers audiobooks, so we did some filtering to find some options and landed on a new book, The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow. We couldn’t stop laughing at the summary of the odd superpowers these kids accidentally acquire, so he borrowed it from the library immediately. Plus, we were both excited by the fact that its a series, so he’d know what his next read would be. And man I tell you…he finished the book in a little over 24 hours!!

I’m so happy to see this new journey that my son is now on, and I’m also very thankful for his teacher for introducing him to the science fiction genre. It is not my genre of choice, so the likelihood of me recommending that a book from that genre to him was slim to none. I’m just hoping he stays this excited about books for a while, so if you have a moment to cross your fingers, say a prayer, something, please feel free to do so! 🙂

Keep #RaisingReaders!

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Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Black History that May Be New to You

One of the things my kids and I really enjoy is reading about important figures in history we knew nothing about previously, but are grateful to learn about. It makes us feel special to learn about someone’s contributions that not many other people know about. So for Black History Month, I would like to share some of those books that we’ve read that highlight people or events you may not have heard of before.

Do you know who Sarah Goode is? We didn’t before we read this book. Sarah Goode was the first African-American woman to receive a patent and was the inventor of those cool cabinet beds. We enjoyed learning about Sarah’s skill at carpentry, as well as her persistence to make sure her hard work was patented. You can read more about the book Sweet Dreams, Sarah by Vivian Kirkfield here.

Sometimes its not a new person that we knew very little about, but a moment or era in history that we learned about, which was the case when we read, Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town, by A. LaFaye, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell. This fictional book teaches us about the very real time after the end of slavery, when many Black people moved to the midwest and became Homesteaders. Definitely a book that made me want to learn more about this time. You can read my review of the book here.

Lastly, Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by Keith Mallett is our last bedtime read that introduced us to someone new. In this case, its about jazz musician Sonny Rollins, a Again, we really enjoyed Sonny’s passion for jazz and how committed he was to his passion, even when he had to step away because the fame got to be too much. Here’s where I talk more about this book.

Also, readbrightly.com is one of my favorite go-tos when I need new book ideas for the kids. They have an article on their website right now that has even more titles that can help expand your kids’ knowledge while #RaisingReaders. You can find that here.