“We Should Do This More Often”

“We Should Do This More Often”

“We should do this more often” were the words uttered by my son the other night after our bedtime read. Now, we read a book almost every night, so that wasn’t what he was requesting more of. His request was based more on the type of book we were reading. In fact, we had just finished 20180820_1957587893538618289921105.jpgBruce’s Big Move by Ryan T. Higgins, a cute and colorful book that both kids found entertaining. My 7 year old son went on to say that we have been reading a lot of chapter books, so we need to go back to reading other kinds of books, and to be honest, I couldn’t agree more. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading chapter (or really any kind of) books with my kids. It has been a great way to introduce them to series, increase their stamina, and help their imagination flourish. But my son is right, there are also reasons why we should still be reading picture books as well:

  1. I’ll be honest, they’re often shorter, and sometimes at bedtime, that’s what I’m going for. 😉
  2. Illustrations. My son in particular can stare at the pictures for what seems like hours, but my daughter also likes pointing out things she notices in the illustrations.
  3. We get to the “moral” of the story a lot faster. With chapter books there’s often a message, but you have to finish the book to get that message. But with picture books, when my son is having a day, I can bust out My No, No, No, Day or Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day that evening and we can debrief.

     

  4. We can read them more than once, which is great especially when we all like them.
  5. (This may be more for me than for them.) Reading picture books brings more variety night after night, as opposed to reading about the same characters for many nights in a row.

Simply put, as much as I truly love reading the Whatever After series and the 13-story Treehouse books, every once in a while we’ve got to switch it up, even as they continue to get older, no matter what their age. Just something to keep in mind as you are #RaisingReaders.

*Side note, not only is Bruce’s Big Move a great book, but you’ve also got to read Mother Bruce and Hotel Bruce both of which came before the big move.

How I Am Reminded Representation Counts, even during Shark Week

How I Am Reminded Representation Counts, even during Shark Week

Every time my daughter points to a character and says, “She looks like me!”, I remember how important it is for my children (and all children) to see themselves in books. She gets excited and instantly feels a bond, whether its the curly hair or the brown skin that she’s connecting to.  Luckily, my child has been able to see herself in quite a few book (definitely more than I did as a child), and If Sharks Disappeared is one our recent favorites. I love that not only is the storyteller brown skinned, but I love the fact that the book has nothing to do with the fact that she is of color. She’s an expert on sharks…who just happens to have brown skin and curly hair. What a simple way to open up my daughter’s eyes to a different career option! Here’s our review of this intriguing title:

imgres

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams is a great book about what could happen if those pesky, scary, downright terrifying animals were to go away.

Of course, initially during our bedtime read, all 3 of us are down with sharks disappearing. However, with the help of the main character, we were eventually able to see that if sharks did disappear, there would be serious consequences that would even reach us in the Midwest! This informational picture book takes us step by step and tells us why changing that one thing could result in a disaster. The illustrations do their part in teaching and the text is short and sweet. And as with most good informational books, there’s additional sources and information at the end.

This book would be awesome for anyone, but if you have a #sharkweek lover, this would be the perfect time to introduce them to this book.

*Also, I recently learned from the author that there are going to be two more books in this series, If Polar Bears Disappeared and If Elephants Disappeared coming in the next year!

If You Have a Girl or Know a Girl, You Need This Book!

If You Have a Girl or Know a Girl, You Need This Book!

Usually, when I check out books from the library, I’m returning them at the last possible, even a day or two later. (Shhh, don’t tell!) However, occasionally I check out a book from the library and I want to return it immediately because I need other readers to experience the book right away.  Dear Girl, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, and illustrated by Holly Hatam is one of those books.

This book is the perfect gift for those of us who may not be able to adequately articulate what we want our daughters, granddaughters, or nieces to know. It’s nice and concise, yet, still an inspirational letter to a young girl explaining how to deal with life. Here’s a few of the phrases/pages that got me excited:

 

20180703_1649538638445859585143840.jpg20180703_1650013365778372463238167.jpg

I’ll be honest, I’m kinda mad my daughter went through my library stash and read this book before me and without me. Nonetheless, I’ll be buying my own copy to give to her. Even though its a picture book, I have a feeling that we may need this book to refresh ourselves during puberty/teenage years.

If you know a girl that you want to embrace their individuality, learn to be empathetic, or just a girl that may need a little extra inspiration navigating this crazy thing called life, this book should be added to their library.

#RaisingReaders

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.

imgres.jpg

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.

The Harry Potter Phenomenon Continues…

The Harry Potter Phenomenon Continues…

 

I’ll admit, I don’t understand the pull of Harry Potter. I read the first one with my daughter, but was able to stop after finishing, whereas she was not. Since then, she has been talking about the characters with her friends who are also reading it and recommending the series to anyone who hasn’t. Also, she got her brother into it and he knows what’s going on through the movies and audiobooks. They even “play” Harry Potter, casting spells on each other. She does her best to keep me up to speed with all that’s going on, although I don’t understand much of it any more.

One of my daughter’s goals this summer was to finish the Harry Potter series, and book #5 has been quite the feat. Three check-outs and renewals from the library later…

20180703_0915581978261965604696388.jpg
The book is hiding her huge smile from her accomplishment!

I’ll be honest, I never experienced anything like it during my childhood reading, so I continue to be impressed by it all. Although this series is not for everyone, there’s some sort of magnetic force that pulls the reader in, so if you need something to hook you child in, Harry Potter may be worth a try.

#RaisingReaders

*Side note: If you haven’t already, enter my giveaway that ends at midnight on 7/6/18! Enter here!

 

Be Patient and Respect the Process

Be Patient and Respect the Process

I recently read a post a friend of mine shared on Facebook (not hers, but someone else’s) that basically talked about living in the moment with your children, not trying to hurry them, and as a result, hurrying life away. As usual, these things make a lot of sense, and I try to adjust my life accordingly, sometimes more successfully than others. However, this go around, within a day, I encountered a situation involving reading with my son that actually helped me put it into practice!

A short time ago we visited our local public library, and one of the books I checked out was This Book is Out of Control! by Richard Byrne. Yes, I checked out a children’s book to read myself (first), and this book was laying on my bed when my son came to chat. Since we’ve read the other books with these characters, he saw the book, opened it, and started turning the pages. Exciting, right? Initially, not so much, because he was turning the pages very quickly, like too quickly to actually be reading the words. Of course, my first reaction is to tell him, “Dude, you can read the words. How about you slow down and actually read the words so you know what the story is about?” But hey, I’m trying to resist the constant need to redirect, trying to let him have his moment, so I say nothing…

imgres.jpg

A few moments later, after he’s turned all the pages, he goes back to the beginning of the book. Now this time, I’m still not sure if he’s reading the words, but he’s definitely going slower than he was the last time. And then, at the end he’s like, “Mom, look…” and proceeds to explain to me part of the plot!

Now, naturally I don’t honestly know what would have happened if I had interrupted his first read through, but there’s a chance I could have turned him off to the book completely. It could’ve been frustrating to the both of us, but instead, I was the only one who was frustrated, and that was only in my head, and only for a moment.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to my son, and here’s just another example that sometimes when #RaisingReaders, you just have to let them do their own thing.

Side note: If you or your children haven’t read We’re In a Book! or This Book Just Ate My Dog!, also by Richard Byrne, I suggest you do so.

Wash After Reading: A Book Review for Do not lick this book

Wash After Reading: A Book Review for Do not lick this book

Recently we had a bedtime read first. After reading our book, my daughter said, “Everyone who touched this book needs to go wash their hands!”…and we did. The book we had just finished was Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and illustrated by Julian Frost.

When I received this book, I was expecting it to be a cute, Elephant & Piggie type book. Don’t get me wrong, it was still cute, but this is actually an Informational book. The book follows Min, who is a microbe from one item to the next, with some cool, super up-close pictures of those items. The interesting thing is that the reader is the one who “carries” Min from object to object, picking Min up with your finger.

1ABBF6ED-B4A8-4E26-A9D4-E3F2CC8A3300.jpeg

So, as the reader, I started Min on her journey. The whole idea freaked my daughter out (in a good way, she was giggling the whole time) so she moved away, while my son stayed put. He even participated in carrying Min later on, which of course meant that he ended up chasing his sister, trying to place Min on her. I found this amusing, her, not so much.  Even though he never did touch her with Min, my daughter was still the one who proclaimed that we all needed to wash our hands. And so, for the first time ever, off to the bathrooms to clean our hands we went.

From the title to the “about the author” at the end, this book grabbed and held our attention, and we learned some things in process. Although you may feel a little gross after reading, I would recommend this book for young budding scientists.

*I was able to read an ARC of this book thanks to the publisher and #bookexcursion, the release date for the US is June 2018.

Summer Reading Suggestion

Summer Reading Suggestion

So for many of us parents, the time has arrived for us to take control of the reins for keeping our kids’ minds sharp, AKA summertime.  Last year I crafted a series of summer reading posts that gave tips and/or suggestions to keep #RaisingReaders during the summer, which still hold true. Most families don’t/can’t spend all summer travelling, so summer can seem like a really long time if some routines aren’t created. This year however, I only have one suggestion, and its a simple, yet important one–don’t make reading a punishment.

Reading-a-book-hd-wallpaper-free-summer-cute-activity[1]

If done right, reading is not only an enjoyable activity, but one that offers many benefits for your child, now and in the future. However, if it is something that is always seen as a punishment or an unfun activity for your child, the likelihood of them becoming a voracious reader decreases.

What do I mean by punishment? Well, there’s a difference between saying, “Go to your room and read a book!” versus “How about you go to your room and finish a book?” Just the way you present the idea of reading can have an impact. Even if your child has a summer reading log/club/assignment from this teacher, it should still be presented as a relaxing, enjoyable task. So to that end, make reading part of your summer routines. Even if your child isn’t reading every day, maybe you go to your local library’s weekly story time and check out books that day as well. Or you establish something like “Find a spot to read Friday” or “Teach me something new Tuesday” so that your reader knows that reading is part of what you do during the summer. Also, keep reading to them at bedtime part of your evening schedule. Plus, there’s also this:

5532571_orig[1]

Raising readers is important, and for 9 months of the school year you have a partner in this quest with their teacher. For these next few months however, the baton has been passed to you–run with it!

Duck, Duck…Moose?

Duck, Duck…Moose?

Duck, Duck, Moose by Joy Heyer is a cute picture book that answers the question—what happens to duck when goose flies South for the winter?

In this rhyming book, duck runs across different animal friends who all want to play with him. However, none of them are like his friend goose, so he stays pretty frustrated, constantly saying that he can’t wait until “goose gets back”.  In the end, duck found a nice alternative game for his friends, because really, does anything sound better than duck, duck, goose?

This would be an entertaining book for any child up to about 8 years old, especially those that are familiar with the game duck, duck, goose.

#RaisingReaders37811837

What James Said…and Then What We Said

What James Said…and Then What We Said

When #RaisingReaders, there are times when the conversation after the bedtime read is just as important as reading the book itself.

For example, tonight my son and I read What James Said by Liz Rosenberg. This book is about a young girl who is not happy with her best friend James because she heard, through the grapevine, that he said something about her that she didn’t like. This short picture book goes through what happens with the hazards of bad communication, or a lack thereof, but of course has a happy ending.

My son read this book to me (yay!), and afterwards I asked him, “So what do you think the author was trying to teach us in this book?” Now, you’ll have to forgive me, I’m in assessment mode at school, which is why the question sounded so formal. Any other time, my question may have been something simpler, like “So what was the problem in the book?” or a more book specific question, like, “Now why were they in a fight?”. Either way, because this book had a clear message/goal, I felt like it was important to have the conversation right afterwards. If we were continuing our reading of The 26-Story Treehouse or reading any of the superhero books that he owns, that question would not have popped up.  However, since this book is perfect for having those conversations, I took advantage of this opportunity. I thought it was especially important because he read it to me, so I wanted to make sure he understood what he was reading.

I’m glad I did take the time to have the conversation, because he actually couldn’t answer the question. So that led to a short review of what we read, and eventual understanding. As much as I want to my children to be able to read and decode the words they come across, I really want them to understand that the purpose of reading is to understand what the text is about. I have found that one of the easiest ways to do that is through conversation after we read. Like I mentioned, it doesn’t have to be a real structured conversation, but just something to make sure that they know what’s going on.

Keep on #RaisingReaders