My Plea to Parents of Babies and Toddlers

My Plea to Parents of Babies and Toddlers

I work in an elementary school, and I spend a lot of my time there promoting books and reading. I’m one of those people that believes,

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so I spend a good chunk of time working on that. However, I also believe that as hard as I and my colleagues try to work at it, it can still be difficult and working together with families helps tremendously.

In our often rushed society of instant gratification, many times kids, especially kids who have not been exposed to books early on, do not have the patience it can take to get into books. Seemingly simple tasks such as taking the time to read the back cover, glance at the pictures, or even sticking with it if the first chapter doesn’t grab you are all skills that we frequently have to work to make sure many students take the time for. Then on top of this, we also have to make sure they can read the book.  That’s fine. We’re up to the task, but there’s something simple that parents can do to help.

Read with your child from birth.

One of the reasons I really like the Read Aloud organization is because of their focused efforts on developing a reading relationship between parents and their children. The goal of their program is to get parents to read to their 0-5 year old children 15 minutes a day, every day.  I believe that simply creating this routine of reading with your child can work wonders for their future reading lives. Reading with your baby or toddler regularly, even for just 15 minutes, can help them discover

  • their enjoyment of reading
  • which particular genres they enjoy
  • a favorite author, illustrator, or series, and
  • new words.

All of these skills will prove to be very helpful once they get into school and spend more time learning how to read and reading independently. Trust me. I’m there. Just 15 minutes a day. Please?

#RaisingReaders

Reading Aloud–a reblog

Reading Aloud–a reblog

This is a wonderful blog post about the power of reading aloud in school. My hope is that you either 1) are able to translate these feelings into what you are doing at home in your #RaisingReaders quest or 2) you remember those pleasant feelings you had in school when your teacher read aloud to you, and that motivates you to try to replicate those feelings when reading with your children.

I remember fist-pumping and high-fiving my friends in two different arenas during elementary school: on the playground–during kickball or football–and when my teachers gathered us on the carpet to return to a favorite book. Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Hang Tough Paul Mather. These were books that […]

via Storytime: What Matters Most Cannot be Measured by David Rockower — Nerdy Book Club

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

 

Read Aloud #2-The Book With No Pictures

Read Aloud #2-The Book With No Pictures

March is Read Aloud Month, so to support that I am sharing some of the read alouds that my kiddos and I love.

My first read aloud review was a Dr. Seuss classic, so I decided to stay on the funny book train with my next selection– The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak. This book was first introduced to my daughter early last year by her 1st grade teacher, and not long afterwards we saw it in Barnes and Noble and she just had to have it.  At the time, I had seen the book before, but I had never actually took the time to open it.

Once we got the book home, she pretended as if there was some big secret that I was about to be let in on and she actually could not wait until bedtime so we could read it. Me, being the unassuming adult who was convinced this could not be that big a deal, was not concerned at all (but secretly thrilled about my child being so excited about bedtime). I mean, this is the cover of the book– how bad could it be?

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Well, my girl was giggling as soon as I opened the book and laughed through the ENTIRE thing. Without giving the whole book away, author B.J. Novak (yes, the same actor that was on The Office) has decided that if there are no pictures, the reader (that would be you), has to read whatever words are on the page.  And trust me, there are some silly words, noises, phrases, everything but pictures, on the pages. Here’s a sneak preview of what will have to come out of your mouth while reading:

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Yep, really. Not even a real word.

 

One of the other reasons I selected this read aloud to highlight, was not only was it funny then, but its still funny now. It has been over a year since we purchased that book and she still cracks up whenever I read it. Every once in a while, when its bedtime and we’re not in the middle of a chapter book, she’ll slip this book behind her back and bust it out with a cheesy smile on her face. Now I’ll be honest, its not my favorite book by any means, but I’ll play up my fear/distaste of reading the book, mostly because it makes her want to hear me read it even more.  I’ll go to any lengths (almost) to make sure my children enjoy reading, even if that means making silly noises. A few weeks ago I even visited and read it to her 2nd grade class, and again, even though a good chunk of them had heard it before, they were nearly in hysterics.  I mean really, I don’t get it, but maybe I would if I was 8?

If you don’t mind looking silly and want a funny book for your child, I recommend this one. Also, side note, getting book recommendations from your child’s teacher or asking your child what the teacher has been reading in class can help if you’re stumped trying to find a new book to read. As for me, next time I’ll read the back before I buy:

Warning

 

March is Read Aloud Month!

March is Read Aloud Month!

One of my favorite organizations that support the idea of #RaisingReaders is an organization called Read Aloud 15 Minutes. This group focuses a lot on reading to your child from birth to age 5, but they have resources and suggestions for reading to your child, regardless of their age, like this poster here:

march2016_icons_treeNot only do they have resources for parents, they also have lots of suggestions and ideas for those of us who are part of schools or organizations that are trying to support literacy for children through the child’s adults, including different charts you can use to track your reading together.

So since its Read Aloud Month, throughout the month I will try to share different read alouds that I’ve found to be engaging with my lovlies. Stay tuned!!