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?
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.
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!
As I’m writing this, it is my son’s 8th birthday, and we just finished our bedtime read. I was particular about my choice since it is a special day, and I luckily, I had just borrowed this gem from the library:
This book, by the daughter and husband of the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal, is a love letter to young boys that will help them grow into responsible, compassionate men.
One reason I love this book is because it says almost all the things I want to say, but am afraid that I won’t remember to say. People always quote the prolific advice their parents gave them, and gosh darn it, I want my children to do that too.
Another reason I’m all in with this book is because I think this is going to be a great book to start a tradition with. Since the Rosenthals have said almost everything I want to say, in order to make it stick, I think I’m gonna read it on his birthday every year. It’ll be our thing, and I will know I’ve given sound advice at least once a year.
I’ve already written about the companion book, Dear Girl, you can read about it here. Of course, my plan is to read that one to my daughter every year, so I’ll have that tradition going with each of them.
So, as you’re looking to raise readers, think about what sort of reading traditions could be appropriate for your kiddos. As for me, let’s just hope I can remember to break out the book each year.
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!)
Davy, his brother Baby Kai and the rest of the family are back in author Danual Berkley’s latest book, Baby Kai and the Monster in the Closet. In the first book about this family, they went on a pirate ship adventure, and you can read more about that book here. This time, younger brother Kai is struggling to fall asleep because, like many other kids, there’s a monster behind his closet door. In this story we get to see Baby Kai pleading his case to his parents for help to no avail, so he has to deal with this problem all on his own. Luckily for him, there are a couple of twists that let Kai and the reader know that monsters aren’t always all bad.
The illustrations in this book, created by Amariah Rauscher, are awesome and consistent with the illustrations in Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure, so if you’ve read it, there’s continuity with the characters. The illustrations also play an important role in figuring out the twists in the story, which is a concept in picture books that I love. During my first read I didn’t notice things that I saw after reading it again, and I think that makes for more lively bedtime reads, especially if, like me, you have kids that like to read a book more than once.
There’s mom & dad, but no monster!
Look at those monster claws!
So if you are raising a reader who has some fears about monsters hiding in their closet or under their bed, this book can help with lighten that concern. Additionally, as author Danual Berkley has done in the past, he makes it a point to make sure that all members of this African-American family are present in the story, which helps to expose your young reader to that sort of representation. You can read more about his quest to achieve diversity in my interview with him here.
This book was just released on June 7 of this year, and you can find this book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can also learn more about budding author Danual Berkley at his website, danualberkley.com.
In our house we love books by Adam Rubin, particularly the Dragons Love Tacos books. So when we learned that there was a new book coming out, we had to read it.
Hive Five is story all about…you guessed it–high fives! The main character is coaching the reader in preparation to participate in a high five-ing competition, which means they need to practice their skills. As you can see even in the cover, the main character actually wants the reader to high five the pages of the book, and my kids LOVED it.
Rubin asks the reader to be creative in their high fives, even coming up with routines to wow the judges. We had spins, dances, and some hard slapping of the pages of this book, which I was not prepared for when we started reading. I had looked the book over, but for some odd reason, I thought I was going to be able to read through it without them wanting to actually high five the book. What was I thinking?
So as a suggestion, I would read this book with your kiddos when you are having one of those nights where you are not in a rush to get them to sleep. Who knows what kind of high five routine your child will come up with, so you want to be prepared to let them enjoy this interactive book to the fullest!