Book Groups Rock!

As I sat with a group of moms who I think are pretty fantastic, we spoke of the struggles of parenting. No matter how prepared you think you are there are major difficulties. And they pop up every day! It’s sort of a grind. Don’t get me wrong the sweet, tender moments and small victories are sprinkled in too. But sometimes it is hard.
This is why book groups rock! If you are not part of a book group let me explain. The concept is you have a group of people who read the same book and get together to discuss it. They evolve into meetings that include adult beverages, snacks, and good conversations. Sometimes you really talk about a book-but not always.
Book groups provide a shared time and space to connect with people. Talking about why children fail to flush, don’t eat their lunch, and trying to get to work on time is therapeutic. Sharing resources-the best new restaurants and exercise classes in town- has a lot of value. There is venting while laughing about how your issues don’t seem as bad when you hear about someone else’s. It has a magical quality to it really.
If you are lucky (I put myself in this category) you will meet a group of people who don’t judge. They are able to use their own personal lenses to help you weather storms from job changes to moving to eating that giant cookie with ice cream on top. And you learn about people who come from different circles which helps expand your own understanding of how to parent in the best way possible.
The second benefit of a book group is modeling reading for your children. When sons and daughters hear about how their parents make time to read and talk about a book it validates some of their school experiences. It makes them want to read. They may ask questions about the types of books you read as a grown up. Children see the importance of connecting with others (isn’t this becoming a lost art as kids get locked into screens.)
My life is rich as I am part of two book groups. Both have wonderful women as members who I consider an important part of my parenting network. So my advice to any new Mama is to find your village, start a book group (even if you are really tired), and see how many ways it can enrich your life!

Getting Kids To Love Reading

Mondays are always a little chaotic in my house, most houses actually.  As I tried to get my children out of bed, my son greeted me with “Mom, I just want to stay in my bed and read.”  He had curled up with the latest Diary of A Wimpy Kid book and became absorbed in the story.  Truth be told, these are not my favorite books, but he LOVES them!  He sits in his room day after day reading and re-reading the stories complete with cartoons.  And you know what, I have learned to embrace it.

But I have also started to introduce him to other graphic novels and elaborate comic books too.  I go to the library and search for books that I think will appeal to him since he is not wise enough to choose new series willingly.  He loves his favorites so much that he can not look beyond them.

Ultimately, I hope that he will learn to love more complicated text.  I hope he will yearn to dive into a book that does not have pictures.  But I know that will come with time.

My tip for encouraging reading:

-Read to them early and often.  Snuggle up with that little baby and teach them from an early age that books are amazing.  Show them pictures, make up your own text, and don’t be discouraged when they aren’t that interested.

-Let children see you reading, and not just on a screen.  If they see how much you get enthralled with the words that seem to jump off the page, they will want to read too.

-GO TO THE LIBRARY!  I cannot tell you how many people are missing the wonderful community that exists in every town.  Check it out and see if your child is old enough to get a library card.

-Find a favorite book from your own childhood and read it with your child.  You will be amazed to see how this can transport you back in time for a few short moments.

-Turn off the screens.  Did you know it is Screen Free Week?  “On May 4-10, children, families, and communities around the world will rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen. Unplug from digital entertainment and spend your free time playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends.”  Try to decrease your screen time this week even if you can’t eliminate it all together.

And for the record, we were late for school due to the reading yesterday, but it was all worth it!

Here is another article from the authors of well know children’s literature with additional insights:

Read, Read, Read!!!

My daughter has been writing her own book at bedtime lately.  She crafted a Springtime story about flowers and colors that made my heart melt a little!

“Parents who read with their young children, tell stories, play word games, and provide books create a strong reading environment, especially if they maintain a sense of fun. Reading activities that allow children to follow their sense of play are more likely to be effective and to foster children’s interest in reading.”

I can honestly say personally and professionally that reading really does have a profound impact on language and cognitive development.  My best advice to all parents-read often, read early, read together, and visit your local library!!!

Read this article from the Urban Child Institute!