Long-time parenting blogging buddies Amy Mascott (Teachmama.com) and Allison McDonald (NoTimeforFlashCards.com) have pooled their experience and resources to produce their first book together, Raising a Rock-Star Reader. This go-to guide is loaded with tips for busy parents who want to instill a passion for reading in their children.
The authors deliver a wealth of information for building early literacy skills, with tips arranged in short sections using photos. Concise and comprehensive, it covers everything from age-appropriate booklists and vocabulary-boosting ideas to printable activity sheets, and app recommendations.
I spoke to Mascott and McDonald about their new venture.
MEMPHIS PARENT: You say you’ve had your own “Rock-Star Reader” moments with your children. What practices have you found most helpful?
Allison: My five, almost totally fool-proof tips, are these:
• Make reading part of your nightly routine from day one.
• Be a reading role model — even if you are only reading People magazine, show your kids that reading is fun.
• Fill your house with books.
• Talk to your children, not just at them. Vocabularies are built conversation by conversation.
• Let children choose their own reading materials.
MP: Can you explain what you mean by “Reading is no cakewalk”? Any suggestions for helping the reluctant reader?
Amy: I say that because learning to read is a complex process and often, parents think they have to be certified teachers to help their children with reading, but that’s not the case. Remember, reading is everywhere. Our reluctant readers may not want to sit down with a novel, but they may play word games. They may not voluntarily grab a book to read in the evening, but they may cozy up with a parent who reads a favorite book aloud to them.
Allison: Something often overlooked is that a lot of children are easily embarrassed when reading aloud until they can do it very well. Don’t force a reluctant reader to read to you, try letting them practice with a sibling, a stuffed animal, or a family pet. Sometimes kids just need to feel like no one is judging them in order to really shine.
MP: I’ve often heard from literary experts that reading is a sales job. What common mistakes do parents make when encouraging their child to read?
Allison: Allowing your child to choose his or her own reading material and respecting that choice is part of the sales pitch you’re talking about. Reading takes practice, and if a child is going to read 50 comic books versus you forcing her to read 10 pages of a book she isn’t interested in, which will be a greater benefit? By all means, work in other things but respect their choices to help make it fun.
Amy: Talk about reading every single day in some way; mention something you read in the newspaper, ask what they’re reading in school, or point out words on a billboard. This simple act demonstrates awareness about reading that will soon be mirrored by your child.
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