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Rhododendron Readers

According to my fancy schmancy plant identifier app, a rhododendron is hard to care for. It needs the perfect combination of essential nutrients, soil, sunlight, and water. It actually says, “is more suitable for gardening experience who are ready to take on the challenge.” Hence my surprise when this beauty blossomed in my woods. 

The app gives specific instructions regarding soil conditions and ideal water conditions. It’s susceptible to “sooty mold” and “powdery mildew.” 

So how do you explain the beautiful, vibrant blooms on this plant in the middle of the woods? I mean, I am not a master gardener, but I know that leaves are a good thing and this rhododendron has none. 

The point is that sometimes conditions don’t have to be perfect to still cultivate growth. 

As it is with raising real readers. 

I have worked with students that have shelves full of books, score well on tests, and educated two-parent households who do not like to read or choose to read. 

I have worked with students who beg their parents to take them to the library, work hard to only score poorly, and who L-O-V-E to read. 

While studies consistently show us that kids with access to books, especially ones they choose, significantly increase their chances at becoming proficient readers, there are those situations, much like my rhododendron, where the conditions are less than ideal, but readers bloom regardless. 

Forget to read to your child during some critical years? 

Worried that the inconsistent schooling environment over the last few years has stunted your child’s reading progress?

Feel like a reading disability means your child won’t want read as an adult? 

Readers, like this rhododendron, are resilient. Sometimes unpredictable. But should never be discounted. It’s never too late to bloom and defy the odds. 

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Book Review: Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

My 9-year-old son recently asked me, “what’s the name of the genre of books that are about people who have had difficult lives?” He had just finished the book “Wish,” by Barbara O’Connor and was doing some self-reflection as far as what to read next. The writer nerd in me loved that he was making the connection between books like “Wish,” “Wonder,” etc., with some of the interesting biographies he’s read (like the Who Was series and the True Tales of Childhood series). The next book I’m going to suggest he read? “Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. I don’t think there is a named genre as my son described it, but this book certainly fits his interest in this type of main character.

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