Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Teaching your children to read—and getting your older kids excited about books

I thought I would share a couple of tips today about reading.

The first is about how to get your young children on the go with learning to read. I no longer believe in letting schools teach my children to read (or much of anything else—I know that sounds bitter, and I don't mean it to, I've just learned that I need to take responsibility for my children's learning, or they might not learn anything at all), and most kids can begin reading to different degrees before kindergarden.

So here are the steps:

1—Read to your children as often as possible. Three books a day is not enough. Try and squeeze in at least a half hour, but if between you and your spouse and older kids, you can read to a pre-reader for an hour a day, you will be amazed at what they can accomplish later.

2—Begin the Explode the Code workbook series, starting with Get Ready for the Code (you can get them on Amazon or

Get Ready for the Code - Book a

And then progressing on. I am not generally a fan of workbooks, but I'm telling you, these books are wonderful. They progressively teach phonics in a relatively painless way. Much better than any workbook I've ever seen, and I've looked at tons and tons (and tons).

3—Go to What? Lindsay is recommending something on the computer for reading?
I am. This website is awesome because you can print off progressively harder readers for your kids. I love the Bob books you can buy (at Costco of all places), but there just aren't enough of them. There are hundreds of books on this website and each level from aaa to Z get harder and harder. Plus they have fiction and nonfiction, and children nowadays do not get enough nonfiction. A membership for a year is like eighty bucks or something, but you can also do a ten day free trial, during which time you can print off twenty books per twenty-four hours. If you have any questions about this, please ask me. You just print off the books and staple them together (I bind them with packing tape afterwards). All of my kids have learned to read from these books.
The best thing about them is that the writing is really quite good. They are interesting too. I bring big tubs of them when we drive places, and all the kids shuffle through them as we go.

Okay, now, how to get your big kids excited about reading. This topic will take many posts, but if you have competitive children, I wanted to let you know that the Newbery awards are coming out in January. These awards are nebulous in my opinion—you cannot always trust them. I really don't like the winner last year, for example, but the Newbery honors from last year are all amazing.

But what you should know about are the mock newberys. Google that: Mock Newbery awards 2012, and you will find several different organizations (some are library systems, some are schools), where they have contests to try and predict the next years Newberys. They have book lists for kids to read, and the kids read them all and predict the winners or just decide which books they think should win. You can watch the Newbery Award Ceremony on the ALA website in January (I'll post the time and date as it comes closer). This also correlates to other big awards like the National Book Award.

If you catch the vision, you could even tape up lists of books in the kitchen and have your kids check off what they've read and give each book a star rating. Your family could have your own awards ceremony!

I just read a book that many are calling a serious Newbery contender:

Okay for Now
Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt.

So read it! Read it with your kids. What do you all think???

Here is a Mock Newbery site to start with:

Have fun—which is what reading should be!

(Sorry for the weird formating of this post. Not sure what happened, and I don't have the time to figure it out!)

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. The Mock Newberry idea is brilliant! Thanks.