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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Reigniting Sparks…

I learned through a recent webinar from Donalyn Miller, a strong advocate for children’s literature and motivating kids to read, that statistics show there’s a drop in interest in reading for children between 3rd and 4th grades (Scholastic 2019)…exactly where my son is. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that while he’s not a struggling reader, he’s not what I would call an enthusiastic reader at all. So when you add to that this pandemic, which has shifted the reading behaviors of even the most regular readers, this mama’s concern is amplified ten-fold.

So what do I do in times like this? I latch back onto things that have worked in the past, like connecting him with books around things he enjoys. This time around it was Minecraft, since that was a new obsession this summer. And a couple of days after checking a Minecraft book from this library, I snapped this photo:

It had been quite some time since he even read before falling asleep, let alone turning on a light after I turned off his lamp. So even though he was supposed to be laying down and closing his eyes, I let him slide this time because I wanted him to be reading.

So, when you’re #RaisingReaders, if you’re worried about making sure they stay motivated and into books, go back to those methods that worked before and try them again.

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Book Review Parenting Raising kids Uncategorized

Bedtime book Review–Straw by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

We have loved each book in this Utensils series, so we were looking forward to the last one of the trio–Straw written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon. In the previous books, we learned about teamwork and individuality, what could we learn from the straw?

With my kids starting back to school AND increasing their independence since they are learning remotely, this was a very timely book to read at bedtime. Not to give it all away, but Straw, who liked to be first all the time, had some really smart friends that were trying to convince him that that wasn’t always a good thing. Rosenthal did a wonderful job of teaching us a lesson that not everything needs to be done quickly.

Although we are sad to see the series end, Spoon, Chopsticks, and Straw are characters I will be referring to for years to come.

You can read our thoughts about the other books in the series here.

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Audiobooks–Struggles & Triumphs

Me and audiobooks have a love/hate relationship. I love the idea of them and believe that they are the same as reading the actual book…but I am not an avid audiobook listener. I don’t have a long commute to work (with or without a pandemic) or really any sort of long stretch of time that I can listen to a book, but I’ve tried. Luckily the last two times I tried to listen to audiobooks, I actually had hard copies of the book. I can usually get about three-fourths of the way through an audiobook, and then I get real impatient, grab the book, and finish reading it myself. However, the story is very different when it comes to my children…

Both my kids are all about audiobooks, I’ve even written about our previous experiences here and here. Just this week, my daughter decided to listen to an audiobook of Echo Mountain, a book she had tried to read last month but ended up abandoning, and now she’s all about it. She told me, “I think the book was confusing, but listening to it made it better. I might go back and try to read the book again after I finish.” Listening to the book was a great way for her to read a book that she previously thought was too difficult for her.

My son is currently listening to books from the Wayside School series. He told me this evening, “I think the reason I haven’t been falling asleep as fast as I used to is because I’m listening to the book. I can’t stop listening, ’cause they’re so interesting.” Audiobooks are a great opportunity for him to reread books and really increase his comprehension.

So as much as I can’t personally find the time or patience to listen to audiobooks, they are a perfect option for my kids to read and experience more books. If you haven’t introduced your readers to audiobooks, you might want to give it a try!

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Book Review Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Bedtime Read–A Vote is a Powerful Thing

Looking for something to read with your kiddos around voting or Election Day? I’ve got a great recently released book for you.

A Vote is a Powerful Thing, written by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Courtney Dawson is a great bedtime read for kids about the power of democracy. In Ms. Trask’s class, she’s teaching her students about how important voting is and has created a project for students to help get students invested in the act. Thanks to one of Ms. Trask’s students, our main character Callie, she and another student create campaigns to convince students to vote for the field trip of their choice.

Callie is particularly invested because her grandma is trying to save the same wilderness park that Callie is campaigning for. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will say both campaigns work hard to get their classmates to pick their choice.

The thing I really appreciated about this book was what I felt was a different type of campaign that the students ran. Usually in children’s books the students are running for class president, which is a cool idea, but in my own elementary education as both a child and teacher, I’ve never had a class president. As a result, I found those books to be a little less relatable. Voting for a field trip though? That I could see happening, which makes it that much better to connect with its readers. There’s even a couple of pages of information about voting at the end, including a timeline of voting rights in the United States. It was a winning bedtime read for us!

So if you want to introduce your kids to how democracy works, A Vote is a Powerful Thing by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Courtney Dawson is the way to go.

*I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This title was released on September 1, 2020 and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Books, Books & More Books…

I took this quote from my Twitter friend and author, @Jarrett_Lerner, and it resonated with me. Whether the books are from a Little Free Library, your local bookstore, garage sales, Goodwill, or hand-me-downs from your own childhood it doesn’t matter. Having books for your child at their disposal gives them another option when they’re “bored”, an opportunity to practice their own reading, a chance to revisit characters and stories that they loved.

Keep #RaisingReaders!