Stop Pushing The Books And Let Them Take it at Their Own Pace!

You guys, I love reading. I love reading so much that I have consumed (and completely finished) 47 books this year. If I were to include the books I’ve skimmed or started but didn’t finish, I’d be somewhere near 60+ on the number of books I’ve read this year. 

From the time my oldest was born, I have tried so hard to instill a love of reading in her. I’ve done everything the professionals tell you to do for kids to enjoy reading. I don’t ever push books on her, I let her take the lead on what to read, how to read it, and when to read them. I never turn down an opportunity to read a book if she’s bringing one to me. Yet still, she’s seemed very disinterested in reading and learning to read. 

It’s been hard for me to have such a love for reading and watch her not care as much. She’s now five years old and started kindergarten this last fall. It seems like an opportune time to introduce chapter books with a little more depth and story to them, but those turn her off even more! I always dreamed of the day I would sit down in a big recliner with my child and read Charlotte’s Web for the first time, but that day feels so distant to me right now, which is disappointing. 

However, I’m doing my best to create a safe, fun environment around books for her, so I’m working every day on not pushing the literature! Instead, we spend plenty of time surrounded by books, all throughout our home at the school library, and the public library. I model reading for her by reading my own books. We also spend a lot of time looking through picture books but not reading them, which is always a win, too. 

Do you have a kiddo that doesn’t love reading whether your own child or in your classroom? How do you help foster a love of reading and an environment of support for them? 

Scholastic Book Orders and the Value They Hold

A few weeks ago after school was out and my daughter was running up to the front door, backpack bouncing on her back, she was yelling in excitement, “Mom! Mom! We get to buy some books from the magazine!” 

After 5 years of trying my best to naturally facilitate a love for reading and books in her, and failing, this moment felt amazing. It felt like I was winning the battle for a short time. 

If you’re familiar at all with ordering books from a magazine, then you know exactly what she was referring to- the Scholastic Book Order, a magazine that goes home with students once a month full of books, educational kits, and sometimes toys, all for purchase. These magazines for book orders started in schools in the 1940s and are incredibly popular among many. It brought me back to my childhood days to see my daughter open it up and start looking through the book options! 

But the reason I felt such pride and accomplishment was because she said the phrase, “we get to buy books.” 

From the time she was born, I did everything the blogs and articles and parenting books tell you to do to facilitate a love of reading in kids. We constantly had books out and available for her. We had books that were black and white with high contrasting colors, as well as books with plenty of bright colors. We had books that were interactive, books that were just for reading, and everything inbetween. They were on her level to see, easily accessible, and fun to read. I never forced her to pick up books, never forced her to finish books (as much as it drove me crazy to skip around pages and not completely finish it!), and overall did my best to make it a happy, fun, and inviting environment. 

And still, she just never loved books. 

So when she came running up to the front door yelling in excitement that we get to order books, I was over the moon! This was the first time I had seen her so enthralled with literature. We sat on the couch and flipped through the pages together, noticing all of the fun books as well as the books with beloved tv characters. We see you, Paw Patrol! Which was just another fun way to see her light up about books, she was so excited that she could choose a book with Chase and Skye. 

In the end, she picked a Grumpycorn book with a unicorn plushie that was included, and I’m fairly certain she chose it for only the plushie, but it was progress. We also ordered some sight word books and the classic, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. 

It made me reazlie what an incredible resource the Scholastic book order is for kids. There’s those that love reading and can look through the book order to pick out all of the books they’ve already read as well as the ones they still want to read. And then there’s children like mine, that may not be as excited about books. But bringing home a magazine to order from and seeing books with familiar characters is just what they need to spark an excitement and love for reading. 

So thank you, Scholastic books, for being another great resource for me in instilling a love and appreciation for books in my child. 

Nourishing the Seed

Here is a brief list of book recommendations for middle grade readers (3rd-6th Grade). Stay tuned for more recommendations and more age groups!

Hooky by Miriam Bonastre Tur

One scoop of graphic novel, one dash of fantastical adventure, and two heaping tablespoons of witch makes this book the perfect recipe (or spell!) for the hesitant reader in your life. With beautiful illustrations and an engaging storyline, this is the perfect way to introduce middle-grade readers to novels without making them feel like they are reading a novel.

“When Dani and Dorian missed the bus to magic school, they never thought they’d wind up declared traitors to their own kind! Now, thanks to a series of mishaps, they are being chased by powerful magic families seeking the prophesied King of Witches and royals searching for missing princes.” -HaperCollins Publishers

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

“Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona… she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined.” -GoodReads

This book is the perfect reminder of the importance of friendship, courage, and acceptance (of yourself and others).

The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane by Julia Nobel

Nothing captivates a reader like the suspenseful twists and turns of a good mystery, and this book is no exception! Read aloud or read alone, you’ll find your readers on the edge of their seat.

With a dad who disappeared years ago and a mother who’s a bit too busy to parent, Emmy is shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England, where she’s sure she won’t fit in. But then she finds a box of mysterious medallions in the attic of her home with a note reading: These belonged to your father. When she arrives at school, she finds the strange symbols from the medallions etched into walls and books, which leads Emmy and her new friends, Jack and Lola, to Wellsworth’s secret society: The Order of Black Hollow Lane. Emmy can’t help but think that the society had something to do with her dad’s disappearance, and that there may be more than just dark secrets in the halls of Wellsworth…” -Sourcebooks

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Alright, this recommendation might come from a place of self-indulgence as this was a series that I absolutely LOVED as a kid. But I’ve also reread them as an adult, and they still hold up.

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary is one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite . . . Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives, to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world.” -Shadow Mountain

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Boys don’t keep diaries—or do they? It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.” -ABRAMS Publishing

Anyone who has been a kid, is a kid, has kids, or has even looked at a kid has heard of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This series is another resource to encourage disinterested readers. I mean, Jeff Kinney wouldn’t be able to write a 17-book series because kids aren’t reading his books, so he clearly knows a thing or two about getting kids excited about reading.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Accidentally built sideways and standing thirty stories high (the builder said he was very sorry for the mistake), Wayside School has some of the wackiest classes in town, especially on the thirtieth floor. That’s where you’ll meet Bebe, the fastest draw in art class; John, who only reads upside down; Myron, the best class president ever; and Sammy, the new kid—he’s a real rat.” -HarperCollins Publishing

Comedic, clever, and kooky; this book has it all! With chapters that read like short stories, it is ideal for reading out loud. These far-fetched stories will fetch a laugh or two (or 89).

Books Celebrating The Women of the Revolution

Happy 4th of July weekend! What a great weekend to talk with students about the Revolutionary War and our Founding Fathers. While it’s important to learn about these, there is also a lack of educational information about our Founding Mothers and the women of the revolution. Here are some of the kids’ books that bring out the stories of these women.

Founding Mother’s: Remembering the Ladies

They Called Her Molly Pitcher

Who Was Betsy Ross?

Who Was Abigail Adams? 

From A Small Seed- The Story of Eliza Hamilton 

Anna Strong: A Spy During the American Revolution 

This Land Is Your Land– Not a book about the women of the revolution, but still a moving book worth the read! 

How do you teach about the founding mothers and fathers of our country in your classroom? 

The Christmas Book List Of 2020

Christmas books! I’m giddy about putting together this post! The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year, and books are one of my favorite subjects. Let’s put the two together! 

Pick A Pine Tree: We don’t own this one yet, but I’m looking forward to the day we do! 

Dasher: Doesn’t the moody cover of the book just invite you in while you sit under a cozy blanket with a cup of hot cocoa?

Red & Lulu: The same author as Dasher. The magic of New York during the Christmas season is captured in this holiday book. 

The Crayons’ Christmas: A holiday twist on The Day The Crayons Quit

What books would you add to this list? Need some good book ideas for the holiday season that aren’t Christmas themed? Stay tuned for next week! 

Featured photo: pexels.com

High School Read Alouds: Books For Fun!

If you search book lists on our blog you’ll find multiple posts full of lists and lists of good read alouds, books for certain subjects, etc, etc. This blog is chucked full of book lists! What it’s missing is a list of read alouds for high school. I’m not talking books approved for English class to read and pick apart, but just a fun book to read to your students, no matter what subject you are teaching. Here’s my favorite list of chapter books you can read to your high school students. 

I Am Malala

What books do you like to read aloud to your high school students?

A Short, Sweet List Of Snowy, Winter Books

Snow is falling! Winter is here! I know for many this is discouraging and sad, but I am one to adore winter and the falling snow. So to excite everyone about the upcoming winter season, let’s come up with a great book list to get us ready for the snowy season. 

The Snowy Day: A Caldecott award book, and the first picture book to have a Black child as the protagonist. What a great conversation to have with students! 

Owl Moon: I can’t explain it, but you can HEAR the silence the snow brings in this book. It’s mesmerizing. 

Wolf In The Snow: This book with no words pulls at your heartstrings when you realize the sense of family and community both humans and animals have, and how we aren’t as different as we may think. 

The Wish Tree: I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my list to get at the library next time we go. 

The Polar Express: Okay, okay. I know, it’s a Christmas book. But the wintery feel of the train and the page of the book with the wolves standing in the snow looking at the train? It just lights up something in me that excites me for that fresh snow smell! 

Are you team snow or team no snow? Do you think reading fun books about winter and snow help change your attitude about winter?