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Tips for Shopping the School Book Fair

At many schools around the country, librarians are frantically (pulling their hair out) getting ready for the school book fair. And it’s a right of passage for children, too… many of us can remember walking into the library with our class, money clenched tight in our fist, anticipating what treasured book we might bring home.

As parents and caregivers, the book fair can sometimes leave us a bit confused or unsure about how to help our child make the most of this event.

It is an important moment on the school calendar, for two big reasons: Read More

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How To Talk to Your Child About Reading (and Why It’s Important)

I was driving around town with my 8 and 11 year old children, running errands. I was telling them about a book I had just finished reading. My 11 year old says, “I wish I liked to read like you do.” Then my 8 year old says, “Yeah, I don’t like reading.”

HOLD UP. What? I had to pull over. Not because I’m a librarian, a literacy lover, or even the founder of a website about reading. But because my kids like to read. If I had to list 10 things about my kids, enjoying a book would make the list. Not number one (horseback riding, playing basketball, and building with Legos would definitely come ahead), but not at the bottom either.

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Reading Strategies and Book Suggestions for Toddlers and Preschoolers Who Can’t Sit Still

When my oldest child was a toddler, I only needed to bring a tote bag of his favorite books to keep him happy and entertained for an hour or more. We nicknamed him The Professor. But then my youngest came along. Cue the Jaws music. His first nickname was The Destroyer… you know the type.

I suddenly had to rethink my strategies for making books a part of his very active, mobile (and developmentally normal!) life.

Toddler and preschool years are crucial in a child’s development as a reader. Even though they can’t yet read independently, they’re learning all the behaviors necessary to do so in the future.

As a point of comparison, clutching a crayon in their chubby, clenched fists and scribbling away is the first step toward being able to write. Soon their fingers get stronger, they start to grasp a pencil and exhibit more control as they draw. It works the same way with reading. 

 

But how to balance your child’s need to move with your desire to read to them in an enjoyable way? We’ve got some tips and book ideas to help.

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8 Tips to Encourage a Love of Reading in Every Child

When my first born was ready for baby food, I had a mini meltdown. I felt like I had (finally!) figured out feeding him and now my pediatrician was telling me it was already time for solids. The doctor had one simple answer, “Just keep trying.” He said that if my son didn’t show interest in a certain food that I should continue placing it on his tray. Eventually, his tastes may change or he might grow used to the textures and flavors that come with experiencing new foods.

This works for developing a real love of reading in your children, too. But you know what usually doesn’t work? Shoving it down their throats. Forcing children to eat copious amounts of broccoli when they hate it will make them less likely to enjoy broccoli when they grow up, right?

Making your child read only books you select, during the time of day you select, with a timer set will also make them less likely to fall in love with reading.

 

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20 Minutes of Reading a Day: 18 Tips to Make It a Habit, Not a Chore

One of the most popular forms of homework is usually some version of a weekly reading log, where students read for at least 20 minutes each day. As a former classroom teacher turned school librarian/reading specialist, I have mixed feelings about this assignment.

Let’s be happy whenever students are encouraged to read, especially if the alternative is a worksheet.

This is the type of assignment that could go a long way toward making reading a daily habit, if both the teacher and parents frame it in a way that makes it seem less like an assignment and more like a gift.

But when parents (and teachers!) fall into certain “reading log traps,” they may be causing more harm than good when it comes to nurturing a lifelong reading habit.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Required Reading Minutes/Reading Logs

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Why You Need to Let Children Choose Their Own Books

On the last day of our summer vacation, I told my kids they could each pick out a souvenir from the national park gift shop. They chose the $7 grab bag of fake gemstones. Literally something we could buy at our local dollar store, and had no significance to the place we’d been. I was sure the stones would end up at the bottom of our toy bin. I cringed while I made the purchase and handed over the tiny drawstring bags to their eager hands. Read More

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What To Do When When Your Child Is Skipping Words While Reading

Any parent or caregiver who has endured those early months and years of children reading aloud know how much patience it requires. And often, we feel ill equipped to help our children when we notice a recurring problem. Skipping words ranks high on my list of head scratching issues during this phase, so I love this simple guide to navigating such a common problem from Renee. -Nicole

Skipping words (or omitting as it’s called in teacher-speak) is a common reading behavior you may notice when your child reads to you. As a Title I Reading Interventionist, it’s probably the most common error I see, and chances are you do it too! It’s an issue that typically falls into two categories: skipping small words and skipping critical words.

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Productive Struggle: What It Is and Why Your Child Needs It

 

When I read Renee’s first draft of this post about productive struggle, I had just come home from the children’s triathlon in my town. At the event, I thought to myself, “All the people who think kids these days are lazy should come to this,” because all the triathletes, regardless of skill or athletic ability, show incredible perseverance. One child was even rescued by lifeguards and then still went on to finish the bike and run portion of the race. C’mon…how many adults do you know who would keep going under those circumstances? It was a visible reminder of the entire point of this post:

Kids usually rise to the challenge when we adults give them the space, encouragement, and opportunity to do so.

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Location, Location, Location

We’ve all heard this expression before. And while it usually conjures images of homes in just the right spot, the idea can easily be transferred to the reading life you and your family create.

In the same way that homes can increase or decrease in value because of their location, switching up the places you keep books can make reading more appealing or feel special.

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