Back to School “Starting off on the right foot”

September 8, 2009

No matter when the school year actually begins, Labor Day symbolizes Back to School. For me, the beginning of a new school year always brought both anticipation and excitement along with the daunting reality of new schedules and responsibilities for my children as well as for me. As much as I looked forward to my children being back in school, I was always a bit sad, knowing how school tends to high-jack family time, which always included the pleasure we found in reading together.

This juggling act required of parents can feel overwhelming. How, with all the new responsibilities and demands, can you then still find time to make reading enjoyable for your children, and not just another assignment for them and you? As soon as the assignment— read 20 minutes a night and keep a journal showed up— the pleasure found in reading seemed to evaporate over night.

Reading with your children and talking with them about the books they read is a fun way to spend time with your children. Talking with children about the stories they read helps them engage and connect with a story and children who talk about stories better understand what they read. Let there be no doubt: Children who get more from the books they read are children who love to read. Many of the skills children need to become good readers are first learned in the stories they hear.

A few tips:
~ Don’t waste precious time trying to convince your children of the importance of reading; just read them good stories.

~ Help your child find their “home-run” books – books that tap into their curiosity and interests, stories where they care about the characters and what happens to them.

~ Choose books that are both appropriate in terms of reading level ability and emotional readiness for the story. Children want stories they can understand.

~ Talk with your children about the story—children who talk about stories better understand the stories they read.

~ Slow down. Encourage your child to read fewer books and know them well.

~ Audio books (not the abridged stories) are terrific. Listening to books on tape is not cheating!

And last but not least, remember what Alice* said:
What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?

* Alice, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland —I knew you knew which Alice I meant!

P. S. Today is International Literacy Day

It’s a… Book!

September 1, 2009

Please come to a book signing near you!


A Thought to Ponder

August 24, 2009

“Our lives are not made up of atoms; they are made of stories.” – Muriel Rukeyser


People love stories— but not everyone likes to read

August 17, 2009

I was talking with a friend the other night at a San Francisco Giants game and I found myself mesmerized by his stories about his favorite baseball players and their struggles to get to the big leagues. I was struck by how animated and involved he was in telling me about their perseverance, their obstacles, […]



July 22, 2009

The other day, a mom told me she was taking cupcakes to her daughter’s day camp to celebrate. The reason for this celebration was that her daughter was the camper of the week and each week, the ‘camper of the week’ is asked to do something that makes a difference in someone’s life. In response […]


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