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

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

Dude, You Need to read Dude! by Aaron Reynolds

Dude, You Need to read Dude! by Aaron Reynolds

Every once in a while before bed, you need to be able to just grab a book that you know is going to be entertaining, but also is not going to be a long bedtime read for your child. Either you’re ready for bed yourself, your favorite show is about to come on TV, or maybe your child has had a long day and sleep is a welcome change. At any rate, Dude!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat is one to add to your reading rotation.

Here’s the good news–there’s only one word you have to be able to read to read this book (I’m sure you can figure out what that is).

Here’s the bad news–because there’s only one word, in order for you (and your children) to truly enjoy this book, you’ve got to read with some expression. Now, the author and illustrator have helped you with this with the way they write the words (i.e. duuuude vs. DUDE!), but I would still suggest glancing through the book first before reading it to your child the first time.

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This book is naturally great for a young pre-reader or a beginning reader, but it even works for a child who is reading independently. This is because even though the language may be simple, the illustrations add a lot to the story, so there’s much to see/analyze to make the story complete. My kids, both independent readers, loved this book and were way into the illustrations.

So when you need that funny quick read while #RaisingReaders, this would be one I would suggest.  You can check this book out from your local library or find it wherever children’s books are sold.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher as part of #bookexcursion.

Harry Potter Sent Her to Sleep…Almost

Harry Potter Sent Her to Sleep…Almost

For almost 8 years now, I have read a book to at least one of my children before bed. Not every night, but most nights. And I’ve always wanted to have one of those special peaceful moments where I had to stop reading because my child had fallen asleep.  You know, where you have gently close the book and then tip-toe out of the room so you don’t wake them up. But in 8 years, I have yet to have one of those moments. But last night…I came close.

I consider myself to be a voracious reader, especially of #kidlit, but I have yet to read any of the Harry Potter series. I know, I know, shocking. It’s really just not in my genre of choice, wizards aren’t my favorite, plus its really long…my excuses are endless. However, thanks to some persistent 3rd graders, their teacher, and more importantly, the picture book version, I have started reading Harry Potter with my daughter.

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If this version didn’t exist…

When we started, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting her to stick with it. However, the more I think about it, the more I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering the fact that she has been enjoying the How To Train Your Dragon series. But we’ve been reading a chapter a night, and just yesterday she said, “Are you enjoying Harry Potter? ‘Cause I am enjoying it.” (Yes, yes I think I am, but not ready to say the words out loud just yet.)

So last night we got all settled in and ready to read. My 8 year old actually got under the covers and laid down, which should’ve been my first sign–usually she’s sitting next to me, even if its a chapter book with no pictures. Now we’re still pretty early in the book, Harry hasn’t even arrived at Hogwarts yet, but she keeps asking questions and making sure she’s getting it. Then she got quiet…and I looked over and the eyelids were a little heavy, but I could still see her eyes. I read a little further, and she asked another question, which kinda made her more alert. She never closed her eyes again, but she was clearly tired when I stopped for the evening and fell asleep soon after I left. Who knew that Harry Potter would be the one to send her to dreamland?!

So whatever your #RaisingReaders goal may be, if its just sending your child off to sleep with dreams of whatever you finished reading or getting your child out of their comfort zone, keep at it. You never know which character is going to be the one that will make your #RaisingReaders dream come true!

*Side note: I totally recommend the picture book version of Harry Potter if you are at all hesitant about it. The pictures help me to visualize things I think I would struggle with otherwise.

 

Don’t Rush Bedtime…

Don’t Rush Bedtime…

I’ve mentioned before about how sometimes I need to reflect to remember to relish my bedtime reads with my kiddos. When I take the time to be present, my mood switches from fussing at them to get ready for bed, to laughing and enjoying a good book.

However, there are some nights where I want to get them to bed quickly, for a variety of reasons, either its late or I wanna watch something on TV (being honest here), and I want to read the shortest book/chapter possible.

But because of the way my life works, it is on those nights that I end up spending the most time reading with my children.  For example, recently I had these experiences with them.

*My son has a good sized collection of National Geographic books, and he’s getting to the age that I want him to read some of them to me. We take baby-steps, so we did some partner reading, where I read a page and then he reads a page, with the book titled Cheetahs. As much time as he spends with these books, I was under the impression that he almost had them memorized, so this would be an quick bedtime read…not so much.

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They may run fast, but reading about them takes time.

Really, it wasn’t even that he struggled reading the words so much, it was that he needed to tell me about things in the pictures, or read the captions, or read it in a robot voice instead. All things that are creative and even necessary sometimes, but not when TGIT  is waiting downstairs on my TV.

To be honest, I kept looking to see how many pages were left in the book, and I was itching to scrap the partner reading and finish reading it to him myself.  However, about halfway through the book my son found his stride and was breezing through the rest of the book. I felt a lil guilty, as I complimented his reading on my way out the door.

*It was late one night, and usually if it gets too late, we scrap the book and just send them to sleep without one. This was one of those nights. I was on my way to turn off my daughter’s bedroom light when she said this,

“I don’t care what we read, as long as its good”

Well, how am I supposed to turn that down? So I did an about face and grabbed the Whatever After book we had been reading and read another chapter.

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She wanted something good, and this is one of our go-tos.

So, in your #RaisingReaders quest, I understand that there will be nights that you prefer to just tuck your child in, turn off the light and walk out. However, keep in mind not only the memories you are creating, but also the readers you are raising.

Thank God for DVR and keep #RaisingReaders!

Gross sea animals–a bedtime read we loved!

Gross sea animals–a bedtime read we loved!

Every so often I get to read to both of my kids together at night, and every so often I pick a great book for us to enjoy. Two nights ago was one of those times.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re going on a trip to the aquarium, so I wanted to read some books with my kids that prepared us for that experience. They had been looking at books about ocean animals here and there, but here was our most recent book:

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The lovely thing about this informational picture book by Brenda Guiberson is that she doesn’t tell you which creature is the most amazing, the reader gets to decide. And she doesn’t just mention your average whale or shark, no, she introduces you to animals you may have never heard of, like this one:

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And then the animal explains to you why they are the best. We read about everything from animals with blue blood to animals who are as big as a school bus. My kids were amazed by facts on each page, and after I read each one, we decided if it was the most amazing creature, so it created a lot of good conversations between us.

This book isn’t very long, there’s no more than 10 animals to learn about. But it was a hit in our house, and great preparation for our upcoming vacation, I’m just upset that I have to return the book to the library!

(Also, I’m not the only one who thinks preparing for vacation through books is a good idea, check out this post from BookReviewMama.)

#RaisingReaders