Parenting Raising Readers

“I am NOT afraid of chapter books!”

Earlier this summer, I was inspired by a friend on Facebook to read a chapter book with both kids at night. My 7 year old daughter and I had occasionally been reading chapter books, but I had yet to approach this idea with my 5 year old son.  Some people were skeptical, including my husband and my mother, but I was determined.  To try to ensure success, I became armed with a plan: I needed to pick a chapter book that still had some pictures in it (my son is a very visual learner), was not super long, and-here’s the key– was made into a movie. Initially I had narrowed it down to Stuart Little and The BFG, but eventually decided on the E.B. White classic.

(Here’s the two books I had it narrowed down to):

So initially when I presented the idea, my daughter was excited (as expected), but my son was adamantly against it. Now to be fair, he was against it partly because he thought I was going to read it all in one night, and he was right, that is an unattractive thought. But even after that, he still was hesitant, and I’ll admit, I forced the first chapter of the book onto him that first night. But the story of the little mouse eventually drew them both in and they were very excited to listen to me read a chapter of the book each evening.

Now I already know that the book is better than the movie, but I wanted to see what my children’s reaction to this would be. The book and the movie, Stuart Little, have a lot of differences, so there was a lot missing. They both enjoyed it, but when talking about it later, my son said, “The author got things wrong”, so I had to explain to him that the book actually came first. 🙂

So, fast-forward to this week in September. One evening my son randomly tells me, “Mom, next time we go to the library and we get books to check out, I can get a chapter book. I am NOT afraid of chapter books.”

What?! You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I wanted to immediately get in the car and go to the library, but that wasn’t really feasible at that moment. I also knew that as a kindergartener, he’s not ready to actually read a chapter book himself. However, thank God for Graphic Novels!

During every visit to the library for about 5 months now, my daughter gets at least one book from the Lunchlady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Whenever she’s not looking at them, my son tries to steal some time with the problem-solving cafeteria ladies.  So this library trip, each child got their own Lunchlady book to enjoy and then swap.

Can’t go wrong with this villain-nabbing Lunch Lady.


So again, as a parent trying to instill a love and enjoyment of reading with your children, you may not reap the benefits right away, but just be patient, they will surprise you.


Parenting Raising Readers

The Little Engine That Could and the Olympics?

Like many households, we’ve spent a decent amount of time watching the Olympics this past week. Both of my children have learned a lot about different sporting events, recognize and root for specific athletes, and they definitely can recognize the American flag.  So tonight, when my son chose the classic book The Little Engine That Could to read, the last thing I expected was a connection to the Olympics. As he often does, my son and I spend a lot of time looking at the illustrations, including the end papers and inside cover. Tonight, as he pointed to the different trains in the picture, he determined that one was gold, one was silver, and one looked bronze….really? I mean, I realize that we had just finished watching the Olympics before we started getting ready for bed, but I didn’t see this connection coming.

(But…if you really look at the trains, I guess they do look gold, silver, and bronze. This boy surprises me often.)

Photo on 8-16-16 at 11.43 PM


Once I started reading, he decided a couple of the trains didn’t look so silver and bronze up close, but that didn’t take away from the story. We’ve read this story multiple times before, so he knows the storyline, and his focus was more on the toys in the trains, and which ones he would choose if he had a choice.  I always imagined that he would get excited and proud when the little train made it over the hill, but that’s not his focus.

At any rate, my takeaway tonight is…sometimes you don’t know where the connections are going to come from, but it’s still evidence that they are thinking and learning while you’re reading.

Photo on 8-16-16 at 11.48 PM

(Shout out to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, who sent my son the book when we first enrolled a couple years ago. If you have a child between the ages of 0-5, and you haven’t looked into this program, I strongly suggest that you do so.)