Thursday, April 9, 2015

Today's Musing: Great Books for Kids

Growing up reading books was my haven, the secret place where I could enter another world and I loved every moment of it. I vividly remember my mom giving me a hard time when she would check up on me late at night and found me secretly reading under the covers.

I don't say it enough but I have my mom to thank for my love of reading, and of books. From an early age, I can still close my eyes and find myself and the many libraries we used to spend hours at. And she never said "no" when I had a big stack of books ready to check out. She would just smile (along with her stack of People magazines) and together, we would wander off into our little worlds.

So now that I'm doing the mom-thing, books are equally as important to me. And that has been a different experience. I don't remember groaning or rolling my eyes when I mentioned hanging out at Barnes N Noble, or complaining when it was time for our nightly reading's different. I'm not giving up, though. And since I'm determined to make this whole book-lovin' thing happen, I thought I would share some of my favorites and a few tips I've learned along the way.

And please, if you have any books you would like to suggest I add to our growing selection, I welcome you to share in the comments section!

Spencer (age 8): Spencer is a very unique soul. And I'll be sure to share with you the ins and outs of this spicy kid some other way too long post. But in the meantime, below are a selection of his favorite reads. He's in second grade and for him reading is one of those things that he loves when he's found a gem of a book but if he's not feeling it, it's like pulling teeth. Knowing that, though, I choose to pick my battles.

Carson (age 6): Carson is my loving middle child and he's just at the point when things are finally starting to click. Reading for each child comes at different times and it's been really great to see his eyes open and his comfort level ease up a bit.

And my two favorite picks (for today): 

And a few tips I've learned along the book-reading way:

1. Every child is different: How many times have you heard that? But with reading, it is. Every child, every level. And I'm a big advocate in embracing where they are at and finding what works for them. My oldest recently finished a book that was perhaps a bit too challenging for him. It frustrated him, he complained along the way but he finished it. Was I happy for him? Of course. But I then went and found a book that better suited where he was at, and he was happy. Lesson learned.

2. Reading at Night: Every night we dedicate some time to reading. I like to keep it to 20-30 minutes at the most. And I'm going to be really honest here. Not that long ago, there would be a whole lot of complaining until I thought, "If I'm making my kids read, shouldn't they see me reading as well?" So at night, we turn of the television, no phones, and we sit down on the couch and all read. My husband will take my little one in the room if he's too distracting but sometimes he even sits down with us and looks at pictures. This really changed everything AND big bonus for I get to read more! And my kids hardly complain as much because they see that I'm reading as well.

3. Give them a break: Yes, having them read is important, but just as important is that they get to listen and hear your voice. To relax a little bit and close their eyes. So after they read, I'll usually pick a classic picture book (nothing too intense) and they get their blankets and I read to them. They LOVE this time. And it's also fun for me to pick a book I think they'll enjoy.

So on that note, I'm still learning and would love to hear any tips or book picks! Down the road I'll share a few of my own favorite reads and get into how we organize our growing book collection!

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