No need for a book on how to talk to children

May 1, 2018

Speaking with some people in their mid 30’s I was sad to hear how many of them view reading as a means to an end—they very much coral their reading into the world of prescriptive nonfiction‚ believing what they cannot quantify, such as the value of reading fiction, is of little value.

Those who read fiction know what it is to identify with a character and what naturally follows is the perennial question that all stories raise— What does this story say about life as I know it? Who am I in this moment of time and who might I become? The best of stories conveys the idea that decisions are about possibilities. Read enough stories and you internalize the idea of perspective. Last but not least, reading literature is a way to understand the world and ourselves. I believe the most memorable stories introduces us to one character we might recognize but are not always eager to know better: ourselves.

This got me thinking about a recent talk I heard from a noted expert in the field of child psychology on how to talk to your children. What disturbed me was not just the content of the talk but the reaction from the audience of young parents.

I thought how sad they had not discovered all the conversations just waiting to be had inside the world of reading and talking with children about the stories we read. A simple case in point—read aloud any of the George and Martha books by James Marshall and an entire universe of conversations is revealed. One good question is enough to jump start a richly satisfying conversation.

Be present with your children , read to them, play with them—all of these activities involve speaking and speaking about what matters. If this was not enough of a motivation to read and talk with your children about the stories you read, there is ample evidence that shows how young children learn though relationships and back and forth interactions, including the interactions that occur when parents read to their children.“Reading Aloud to Young Children has Benefits for Attention and Behavior”

Stories are powerful because they speak to your mind, heart and imagination.

February 27, 2018

Facts, data and numbers will never have a story’s power to influence simply because a story speaks to the mind, heart and imagination. Harold Goddard wrote in The Meaning of Shakespeare, “The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes […]


Harvard Study highlights the importance of questions & Conversational Reading looks to ask good questions

February 26, 2018

As parents, we can help our children practice a regular habit of asking good questions through the stories we read. Hone your skills of “Conversational Reading” with the literacy and language expert who coined the phrase herself, Diane Frankenstein. Register now for her Beginner, Advanced and Enriched Conversational Reading classes, March 3-10, 2018! In the […]


Conversations that expand our understanding about masculinity

February 24, 2018

The tragedy (2.14.18) of 17 people, most of them teenagers, being shot dead at a Florida school has put important conversations in motion and I am not just referring to the much needed and to be applauded protesters who took their plea for tougher gun laws to the Florida House of Representatives. A recent NYT […]


What would Presidents Washington and Lincoln have to say to us today?

February 19, 2018

It would be good to know why February 19 is a holiday and to ponder the sentiments of the leaders the day honors. Presidents Day honors President Washington, whose birthday falls on February 22. The day is also believed to celebrate Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President who was born on February 16. Though we don’t […]


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