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Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

Summer Bedtime Read Struggles

So for the last couple of summers, my kids and I have read a chapter book together for our summer #bedtimereads. Last summer we enjoyed The Last-Last Day of Summer and previously we read a book from the Ramona Quimby series. I really enjoy the change from picture books, and because its summer, bedtime isn’t that big of an issue, so reading an extra chapter or two isn’t that big of a deal.

This summer however, we were on the struggle bus when it came to finishing a chapter book. I don’t know if it was because of the pandemic or because we had already read a chapter book during quarantine or what, but I even tried starting a chapter book that I thought they would enjoy and we abandoned it after the first chapter.

Next, I chose a book that had been recommended to me based on a different read aloud we had recently enjoyed–Holes. 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusty Bowling was one I figured would be in a shoe-in because one–both my daughter and I have read other books by her and adored them, and two– the three of us loved the adventure piece of Holes. So we started 24 Hours in Nowhere, a novel whose chapters are organized by hours, so as you may have guessed from the title–there are 24 chapters. After 4 or 5 chapters they seemed interested, sorta, but I wasn’t sure and I wasn’t getting the pleas for “one more chapter pleeeease” that I usually get with our read alouds. So after about a week or so, I was ready to give up.

However, here’s where things change. One night as we were getting ready for bed, my son says, “we need to keep reading that book we were reading”…and that was all it took. I picked it back up that evening, and the chapter I started with was HILARIOUS (who knew bat poop could be funny) and at the end of that chapter what did I hear? “You have to read one more!” from both children, and so that night I did, and quite a few more nights I did, and we finally finished and enjoyed a chapter book this summer–Whew!

I share this story for a couple of reasons, particularly if you and your kids have ever been in a reading rut. First, as adamant as I am about raising readers through reading to my own children, even we have pockets of time where we struggle to keep our reading routines, and that’s ok. Second, I almost abandoned a book too quickly! Not every book is for every body, but I should’ve trusted the recommendation and my history with the author and continued on.

Now we’re back to picture books for the moment, but I’ll let you know when we start our next chapter book bedtime read!

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

Whew, July is Rough!

For the last couple of years, probably since my son has been in school, July has been a rough month when it comes to #RaisingReaders.  Is it just me?

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June is good. We are still in our routines from the school year, they usually come home with a couple of books from school they are excited about reading because they get to keep them. The public library starts its summer reading program with a bang (this year they had a awesome performer who swallowed a sword) and we go there pretty regularly and get new books, both written and audio. Although some of it may be extrinsic, they are motivated readers at the beginning of summer.
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August is also good. School starts midway through the month, so we start getting back into school routines before then. They are excited to go back and they want to be prepared (and sometimes I guilt them into being prepared), so they pick up books more often. That book that they brought home from school in June, they grab that off the shelf again and decide to finish it.

But man, July, not so good. Part of it is the routine piece, with camps/vacations and just staying up late in general, there are nights we don’t have a #bedtimeread.  Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, they’ve found other activities to do, games, tables/game consoles, so the suggestion of a book instead can produce a tantrum. Also, they don’t want to be reminded of anything related to school, so if there’s no tantrum, suggesting a book gets a side-eye from either child. I don’t want to make reading a chore or an unpleasant experience, so I don’t push it.  Usually they fall asleep reading a book and/or listening to an audio book, but the other night my son did neither!

Now because I know August is coming and I know there is not a complete aversion to books, I’m not horribly concerned, but it is still a struggle. So, if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears! Keep #RaisingReaders!

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

He Won’t Keep Still, But He’s Still Listening!

So its summertime, which means later bedtimes and longer bedtime reads. So far this summer I think I’ve chosen a great book for me, my 10 year old daughter and my soon to be 8 year old son. We’re reading The Last Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles, which is an action packed adventure story that I thought for sure would keep them wanting more…and I was right, but I was unsure at first.

This adventurous story about 2 boys and the end of their summer is a chapter book, with small illustrations sprinkled throughout, which is the first of its kind that I’ve read with my son. Any chapter book we’ve read before had lots of illustrations, such as 13-story Treehouse, or we had seen the movie, like Stuart Little, so this was going to be our first venture.

Even after a decade of reading with my children, I still have this vision that we’d cuddle and read in the bed every night until they fall asleep…and it has yet to happen. Instead, so far this summer I have had some kid cuddles, but also son laying on the floor, both kids arguing over space, and even kid playing solitaire while I’m reading. Now even if he wasn’t next to me, my son would pop up every once in a while to see if there was a picture to look at, and that should’ve been a positive clue. However, because of all that, I would question whether they were listening, until I stopped reading. Then there were instant pleas for me to continue. Not, “I just wanna stay up later” pleas, but “I need to know what happens next” pleas, because as much as their bodies were moving while I was reading, they were paying attention to the story and wanted more.

As you do your own summer reading with your kiddos, remember, just because they aren’t cuddled up and focused on you, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t paying attention.

Keep #RaisingReaders! (And I do recommend this book, its so good!)screenshot_20190619-231722_google6782167213844116503.jpg

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

#RaisingReader Tips for Busy Kids

One of the goals of my blog is to try to do my part in assisting parents and guardians with being able to raise their children to be readers, whether it be through book reviews or sharing my parenting stories. I know that one thing that can be a road block is time, or a lack thereof, especially as children get older and more involved in activities.

One of my go-to websites for book ideas and strategies is readbrightly.com. And even though my blog doesn’t mention teen readers often because my kids aren’t that old yet, I recognize how it is important to keep them motivated to read and so does Brightly. So I thought I’d share a recent article I read from their website with some great ideas for raising readers with busy schedules.

Expert Tips for Keeping Busy Kids Connected to Books

 

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

How I Achieved Car Trip Silence…

Reading? They did, but only part of the time.

Were they sleep? Not that lucky.

Decided to be quiet just to be nice? Ha!

Here’s the deal–recently the kids and I took a trip home to see some friends and family, which is about a 3 hour drive. Since my children have decided that this is going to be the summer where they argue constantly (!!), and I was going to be the only adult in the car, I needed to come up with something that was going to keep them relatively engaged. Last year when we made this same trip, we tried our hand at listening to an audio book, Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. It worked pretty well, its a wonderful book, and they were into it. But I’ll be honest, having no other adult to talk to with cruise control on the interstate had me looking like this:

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Naturally that is not a good look, so I had to switch back to music every so often.

This trip I decided to go with something slightly different…podcasts. Now I’m not risky enough to just try any podcast, I had to make sure it was something they would enjoy. Enter these lovelies:

Thanks to Kids Place Live on satellite radio, we’ve gotten familiar with both of these broadcasts. We listen to Mindy Thomas in the mornings during the school year and the kids love her goofy antics. We don’t catch the Story Pirates as often, but they take story written by kids, and turn them into plays they act out on the radio. When I told the kids about the options they were excited about both, so I was very optimistic.

For me, the difference between the podcasts and the audio book was the length of time. Although there are multiple episodes, each episode is less than an hour, sometimes only 30 minutes. So, I knew that if I did start to get tired again (which I did), there was an end coming near and I easily turn on music.

Now I expected them to enjoy the novelty of listening to the podcast, but what I did not expect was the silence that ensued as soon as I turned on The Story Pirates. After dealing with their bickering for what has felt like the longest first two weeks of summer ever, their silence was music to my ears. We listened to one episode of each podcast on the way down, and they begged for the same on the way back.

So, if you’re looking for something for your kiddos to listen to on a long car ride, I would definitely recommend either of these podcasts. Not only will they enjoy it, but you might too, and if nothing else, their silence will lower your blood pressure, I know it did mine!

#RaisingReaders