Reading with your Baby

Reading with your baby blog graphic

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald

When you ask a new mom if her child is saying words yet, most will say that the baby is starting to say momma or dada… my little one learned to say puppy first, and “Brown Bear” second.

That’s right, before she could even say momma, she was saying “Brown Bear” in the sweetest voice, with a smile on her face, because one of her favorite things to do in the world was to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle.  Of course she couldn’t technically read, but when I put her in my lap and opened that book… lightly bouncing her on my legs as I read the rhythmic lines, she was happy.  She loved looking at the pictures, she loved turning the pages, she loved bouncing in my lap, sometimes dancing to the rhythm, and she loved participating by saying with me “Brown Bear!”  Before she even really understood what a book was, she loved reading.

One of the most important gifts we can give our children is the love of reading.  It can start as early as a newborn baby who likes to look at pictures. Research shows that the earlier a child is exposed to books and reading, the better opportunities they have to grow strong reading skills.  But if your child is far beyond the infant age, it isn’t too late.  Parents of young children can still enjoy a simple bedtime story routine with parents. And if your children have far outgrown the stage of wanting you in their rooms for a bedtime story, you can still connect with them through literature by choosing a book to read and discuss together.  The ever popular Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or my favorite, The Selection series, are all great for parents and teenagers alike.  When you participate in any of these activities with your children, you are not only building skills such as analysis, meta-cognition, and comprehension, but you are creating reading memories and a love of reading with your child.  The love of reading is the foundation for growing strong skills.  Nobody gets really good at doing something they hate. In order to grow and improve as a reader, children need to enjoy reading.

It would be a beautiful thing today for you to grab a book, sit down with your child, and enjoy it together.  It will warm your heart to have them close by, and you will be building something special that will last a lifetime.

If you choose to accept the challenge, leave a comment below to tell me all about your experience!

Happy Reading!


Parents Grow Their Children Best

Parents Grow Their Children Best graphic

I’ll never forget the feeling of holding my crying baby in the darkness of 2:30 in the morning as I frantically searched online for infant sleep tips. I generally consider myself a knowledgeable, educated woman, but when it came to the topic of infant sleeping, and even more real, when it came to those dark, sleepy moments, I just needed someone to answer my questions and help.

When we, as parents, see that our children have a need, it is our natural desire to want to do something to help or meet that need.  In my nearly ten years of reading intervention and reading instruction, I’ve found that most parents have a deep desire to help their children improve their reading skills, but lack the tools to know how to help.  Many end up spending way too much money on tutoring programs with little to no result, and others do everything they know how to do to work on it at home with their children, but end up feeling frustrated and frazzled at the end of it all.

Helping your children learn to read should not be expensive, and it should not be a stressful experience.  Instead, it should be a natural, beautiful time together.  It should create precious memories together, just as lovely as a family vacation or special outing.  But just as I needed specific steps to learn how to help my child sleep through the night, I know that parents need manageable, clear steps to help their children learn to read or improve their reading, and that is why I have created “Grow Strong Readers” as a resource to guide parents developing strong reading skills in their children.

As a parent, you know your children better than anyone else.  You were there when they learned to eat, walk, and wave.  You know what excites them and what scares them.  And more than anyone in the world, they love and want to learn and grow from you.  While I support education in public, private and home school settings, I believe that regardless of where your child is being formally educated, reading is a practice that should occur in the home from infancy to adulthood outside of school.  Parents play a major role in this process.

My goal is to guide parents to the knowledge and understanding we all need in order to help our kids be successful readers, regardless of their age, hindrances, or current ability levels, along with supplying the tools they need to accomplish this goal.  My tips are simple and immediately applicable.  Download my “Five Fast Tips for Reading Improvement” for free to get started!  You can subscribe to my newsletter and receive e-mail updates when I post new tips to the blog, and you can even ask me a question directly.  I’m excited to work with you and hear how your child has grown!