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3 Books for Parents to Read in 2020

I like change.

I like anticipation. 

I like thinking about the year 2020 and all its possibility. 

The keeping of New Year’s resolutions have traditionally not gone well for me (i.e., not ever worked). However, I’ve spent the last few months tucking away ideas to construct a vision for 2020 by reading books that target core areas in my life that I’m hoping to improve upon in the new year.  If you’re hoping to do the same, I have three book for parents to read in 2020.

Perhaps best of all, these books will help you model for your children how to find more balance in your life, and that includes making time for reading.

Indistractable by Nir Eyal

Description: In today’s digital age of dings, beeps, and instant gratification, getting distracted is inevitable. Nir Eyal breaks down the problem we face and helps the reader put a plan in place to find traction, not distraction. 

How Indistractable helped shape my 2020 vision: 

  • Designate times for social media scrolling, reading, writing, and lesson planning
  • Protect time most evenings for family reading
  • Establish family food budget guidelines to encourage less waste and fewer meals out

Choose the Life You Want by Tal Ben-Shahar

Description: Tal Ben-Shahar lists 101 choices we often have each day that are worth noticing. After describing each choice, he shares a short story illustrating the power each choice can contribute to our lives. 

How Choose the Life You Want helped shape my 2020 vision: 

  • I can choose to complain about the low teacher pay in Indiana or I can choose to write, march, and be a voice. I can choose to answer emails when my students are occupied or I can engage them in conversation about their book selections. I can choose to attack my reading list while my own kids use their allotted screen time for the day or I can get on the treadmill. My vision includes more awareness of the role of my choices. 
  • My 2020 vision includes students in our school library that exercise the power of choice in book selection, but with an increased focus on using these choices to create more happiness in their lives. The right words at the right times can prove to be armor when we need protection. 
  • My poor decisions often happen in that split second after someone asks me a question. This book taught me to change my language. Instead of having to make a decision, I will choose to simply state that I don’t drink soda, for example, when offered one. 

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Description: Greg McKeown breaks down what we all know deep down and don’t often care to admit it: the more we try to do it all the more we feel dissatisfied and don’t perform well. 

How Essentialism helped shape my 2020 vision: If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one book, this is it. I’ve read it 3 times. I want to read it again as soon as I finish it.  It’s a reminder to slow down and think through how a decision will impact my ability to do the work that matters most to the best of my ability.  

What does your 2020 vision look like? I’d love to hear! 

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

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Why You Need Books to Like Books

If our readers take anything away from this website, we hope it’s the importance of access to books. We’ve written about it from various angles over the past year, like this post about placing books around your home, or this post about letting children choose their own books. Let’s approach book access from a viewpoint that might make some uncomfortable: privilege.

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Gratefulness Giveaway: Win a Book Hand-Selected By Us for Your Child

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED.

It’s been about six months since we launched Raising Real Readers, although it was a dream of ours for years before we ever hit “publish” on that first post. Since June, you have filled our comments, social media channels, and even email inboxes with questions, concerns, fears, and excitement about your child’s reading habits. We are enormously grateful that you have allowed us into your home to be a small part of your family’s reading routine.

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Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

When I was 17, my parents took me to New York City on spring break. We splurged on a Broadway show and saw Ragtime, a musical centered around racial injustice in America in the early 20th century. Never before had my eyes been so open to the mistreatment and brutality directed at people of color. The fact that I hadn’t considered this until my late teens is the very definition of white privilege.

And it’s exactly why books like Angie Thomas’ best-selling, award-winning The Hate U Give are so important. For people of color, this book is an important moment of representation, a chance to see their lived experience in print and on movie screens. For readers like me, who grew up in an upper middle class, mostly white suburb, it is a glimpse into the life of a black teenager living in an impoverished neighborhood. We cannot begin to dismantle systemic white supremacy until we recognize and acknowledge the effects of generations of discrimination, oppression, and violence. This book is just such an opportunity to educate ourselves.

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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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Where to Get Book Recommendations Your Child Will Love

Our most recent posts have encouraged families to allow their child to choose their own reading material and to reflect thoughtfully on how books impact childrens’ (and adults’) lives. But where to turn when you’ve read the last page of a recent favorite, or finally finished that series you started 6 months ago? (I call this having a book hangover and the only cure is a new favorite!) Or maybe you’re still searching for that one book that is sure to hook them to love reading long-term.

Here are some fool-proof resources for great children’s book recommendations… some for when you have loads of time to browse with your child and a few that take only a few seconds!

Helpful Sources for Children’s Book Recommendations

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The Impact of a Book

Photo courtesy of Jorge Mendez Blake’s website.

I let out a long, slow breath the first time pictures of Jorge Mendez Blake’s work The Castle appeared in my Facebook feed. I don’t pretend to connect or understand art easily. But this? This I understood. Maybe it’s because without even zooming in on the title of the book (The Castle by Franz Kafka), I was already picturing how this wall represented the reading lives of our children.

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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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