Library Time!! (Summer Tip #2)

Library Time!! (Summer Tip #2)

So, last week I mentioned that I would share some tips for #RaisingReaders during the summer, so the progress that you guys have made in step with teachers all year doesn’t go to waste.  You can see that original tip here. My second tip is to take some time this summer to explore your local library.

There are obvious reasons for this suggestion, first and foremost being–its free! Summers can be long, “boredom” (yeah, I put it in quotes because let’s be real, its often not real boredom) can set in quickly, and before you know it, you’re spending dollar after dollar for their entertainment. I mean, I just spent $50 at the movies today for me and my 2 to see the Captain Underpants movie, and we cannot afford for that to happen on a regular basis. We can afford however, to spend $0 at the library for the same length of time as the 90 minute movie. Not only is the library free, unlike the park, which is also free, its air conditioned. And even for those of you who don’t live within the city limits of your local library, its still free to sit in the library and enjoy a book.

Secondly, there are SO many options at the library! Maybe your child has outgrown the books they have on their shelf, or maybe they’re just tired of them. Take them to the library, and there’s hundreds of books they can choose from. Is your child into dinosaurs? There’s books at the library for them. Stories about princesses? Got those too. Historical fiction? Yep. Books about teen angst? Tons of them. Books for you about dealing with teen angst?–got those too.

Now I do suggest to try to make a plan when it comes to going to the library, otherwise, if your kids are anything like mine, they will wander around the library aimlessly for a good chunk of the summer. And by make a plan, I mean simply asking, “So, what kinds of books do you think you want to check out this time?” on the way to library. Also, when in doubt, have your child talk to the librarian, they can usually steer them in the right direction.

Lastly, most public libraries usually have some sort of summer reading programming for the summer, which can include incentives for reading books like trinkets and stickers, as well as activities, such as crafts or guests like magicians. I would suggest looking into what your local library has to offer.

 

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Here’s our library’s summer booklet. My kids are excited with all the options inside.

 

 

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Story times are also popular at libraries during the summer.

So, the next time you hear, “I’m bored, can we go to the movies?”, for the 40th time, try steering the car towards the library instead of the movie theater. (Did I mention I spent $50?)

#RaisingReaders

 

Read Aloud #4–The House That Jane Built

Read Aloud #4–The House That Jane Built

As March comes to a close, my last read aloud to recommend for Read Aloud month is an Informational story–The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams, by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Kathryn Brown.

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I stumbled upon this book during our most recent trip to the library, and although I had heard of Jane Addams, I can’t say that I know a whole lot about her, so I decided to pick it up.  As usual, I read the book to myself before I shared it with the kids (just in case it ends up a dud), and after finishing, I knew I had to read it to my babies.

After the election, I wrote a post about trying to raising kind children (read post here), and I was reminded of that after reading this book. Jane Addams started her work with the less fortunate because she knew she had the means to do so, something she realized as early as age 6. So I figured this would be a great read aloud to start the conversation with my children about how they can help make the world a better place.

As I read the book, I had their undivided attention the whole time, which I was honestly surprised about, and then after the last sentence, “With all that she did, both inside and outside the house that Jane built, her childhood wish to help fix the world came true”, I asked them what they would do to help fix the world. Silence. A long silence. So I followed up: “You know you guys are more fortunate than some other people, so what would you do to help those people?”

5 year old response: “If someone didn’t have a penny, or a nickel, or a dime, or a quarter, or a dollar (yeah he went through them all), then I could give them some of my money.”

Ok, I’ll take that.

8 year old response: “You know those things for people who don’t have enough food? I could send them $10 so then they can eat.”

Ok…so clearly our next conversation needs to be about ways to help others that isn’t monetary, but tonight was a start.

So, if you need to have that starter conversation about helping others with your own children, or if you’ve already done that and need more examples, or if you just need a good informational book to share with your children….this may be the one for you.

#RaisingReaders

 

Walking the tightrope

Walking the tightrope

I wouldn’t necessarily say my son is a reluctant reader, but I would say that I have this fear that he will be. On the other hand, I also don’t want to be that parent that pushes reading so much that I’m the one that makes him not enjoy it. There’s a fine tightrope that I’m carefully teetering on here.

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So, as a result, you know how as a parent you do things with an ultimate goal in mind, but you don’t express that goal out loud for fear that your child will ruin your plans for no reason other than to turn your hair gray?  That’s my relationship with my son and reading.

As I’ve said before, I tend to pick most of his books from the library for him, just to make the trip a little smoother. On our last trip I picked out one of those easy reader books, this one titled, Trains. Since he didn’t pick it out and I didn’t even bother showing it to him before we left the library for his approval, he hadn’t been paying much attention to it. In fact, I don’t think he’d even opened the book in the week since we got it.

Well, one day this weekend he was spending some quality time in the bathroom, so I decided to hand him that book to help make time pass. As he grabs the book his response was,

“MOM, I don’t even know why you got me this book. I’ve read a book on trains already, remember? I had the CD and the book!”

“Yes, but this book may be different than that one, it may have different stuff in it.”

“No, that book had everything about trains in it, it told me everything.”

“Just read the book boy”, as I walk away exasperated from this conversation. This is what I mean when I say that he just wants to do the opposite just to try to make me crazy, there’s no other reason.

Anyway, moments later when I walk by, I see him actually reading the words on the page. He’s 5, so he’s not a real confident reader, but he’s sounding out words and is doing a good job. He gets to the second sentence on this page…”The cars on a p…pass…passenger”

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Wait what?! Did he just read the word passenger?! Yes! One point for mama! We did a high-five, I gave him his kudos for reading such a hard word, and he moved on to the rest of the page.

Now what I didn’t say to him, but really wanted to was, “You know why you were able to read the word passengers? Because you’ve already read/listened to a book about trains, and your mama was smart enough to get you another one, so you had the vocabulary ready and you used context clues to help you figure out the word. So there.”

At any rate, the takeaway from this incident is this: to support your efforts in #raisingreaders, I’m actually advocating being the sneaky, yet deliberate parent. You don’t want to end up being that adult that makes that child despise reading, but you don’t want to let opportunities pass either. Search for a balance on that tightrope. Also, if there’s a subject or topic they’re into, get them an informational book on it…and then get them another one. Despite what they may tell you, despite their resistance, they’ll get something different out of the each book, and it’ll make them smarter in the process.

#RaisingReaders

 

A Mix of Old School and New School

A Mix of Old School and New School

 

A few days ago we took a quick trip to our local library and checked out our usual hoard of books. Now for my daughter, finding books are usually pretty easy. She has a few authors and series that she’s really into, and for the most part after we’ve found them once, she can usually find her way back to that section on our next trip. My son however, does not yet have certain authors or series that he’s looking for, so he’s more dependent on me to help him. Luckily for us, the Children’s section at our library usually has some seasonal or holiday books set up on shelves, so that’s where we started.

“Hey, I’ve read this book, this is The Mitten!”

“It sure is, let’s check it out!” Even though his teacher had read it at school, I figured its a classic book from Jan Brett, and he was clearly excited about it, so we could get some extra mileage out of it.

My next move was to take him over to the Mo Willems section, because although there are times I don’t think its possible, we have yet to read every Elephant and Piggie book there is.

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These books are both hilarious AND easy to read!

Luckily for me, while looking on that shelf, I noticed a new book, The Cookie Fiasco, which is part of the new Elephant and Piggie Like Reading series. (Author Mo Willems has ended the Elephant and Piggie series, but he knew it would be too much to leave us cold turkey.) That was an easy sell, so we grabbed it and went on to check out.

So as they settled in for our bedtime reading, I overhear the two of them arguing over which of the books he picked we were going to read. Of course by bedtime I have little to no patience for children arguing, so I told (possibly yelled to) them we would just read both to shut it down, and I’m glad I did.

Even though they had both read The Mitten before, they were still really into the story as well as the illustrations that both bring the book to life and do some foreshadowing.

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The mitten silhouettes on the edges also contribute to the story.

Next, we read The Cookie Fiasco, and when compared to The Mitten, this book is louder, much more colorful, and funnier. They enjoyed watching these new characters try to figure out how to share their cookies, and loved when Elephant and Piggie made their guest appearances. My son even let my daughter “borrow” the book for the night, even though they were arguing mere moments earlier.

In hindsight, I probably should’ve read the louder book first and then ended the evening with calming Jan Brett, but hey, hindsight is 20/20.  This evening’s reads also reminded me to mix in more classics with our newer bedtime books. When I go to the Children’s section of the library, the first section you’ll find me looking is in the new books, I’m always looking for the latest books to share with my children. But in reality, I need to broaden our scope, take the time to look through those shelves, and find more of those “old school” books to mix in with the “new school”. Much like I eventually learned to appreciate the “old school” music my parents made me listen to, I’m sure my children will appreciate the exposure to the “old school” books….just hopefully sooner than I did.