board books · reading · reading conveys love · siblings · slice of life

Turning a Corner

On Friday, Ari grabbed a board book, handed it to Isabelle, and said, “Read this book.”

“No,” she replied.

“What do you mean ‘no’?” I asked from the kitchen where I was preparing a side dish for dinner. “If your brother asks you to read him a book that you can read, then you read it to him.”

Maybe that shouldn’t have been my response, but it was. I understand reading is hard for Isabelle, but she has made enormous progress this year thanks to her classroom teacher pulling her a few extra times a week, the in-school reading specialist, and an after school reading tutor twice a week. So, honestly, I think my response was measured considering the anger I felt bubbling up inside of me when she told Ari “no.”

“Fine, I’ll read it to him,” she replied.

She read to him begrudgingly. Yes, she read the words, but there was no warmth. I said nothing. After all, she was reading to him.

Like many classroom teachers, I often told my fourth and fifth graders who struggled with reading to read aloud to their younger siblings. Little kids don’t judge. They don’t point out mispronounced words or when you miss a word entirely. Many times, I found that the kids who actually did read aloud to their little brothers and sisters improved at a faster rate than kids who weren’t reading aloud to anyone.

There have been several occasions when Isabelle has read aloud to Ari in the past couple of years, but she hesitates. I think she genuinely worries that he’ll say something if she doesn’t get the words right.

On Sunday morning, Ari asked Isabelle to read to him again. This time, she said “yes.” She read book after book to him on the couch. I shot some videos clandestinely. I asked her if I could share them (I was thinking with her grandparents.) since she read beautifully. She said “no.” This time, I didn’t fight back.

This morning, Isabelle doesn’t have school. I asked her to get dressed. She said, “I want to go and see what Ari is doing.” I didn’t argue with her since, after all, it’s a national holiday. AND, I knew Ari was reading board books on his bedroom floor.

A few minutes later, I overheard Isabelle’s voice reading books aloud to Ari. I tiptoed into the bedroom and took a video. Then, I took a photo (since I haven’t been restricted from sharing those) of Isabelle and Ari reading a book together. My heart was bursting when I noticed them surrounded with a pile of books.

picture books · reading conveys love · routines · slice of life

Books, Bedtime, & the Super Bowl

IMG_1282My husband is the kind of guy who loves his sports. Whenever I turn on the television in the mornings, the channel is always turned to ESPN or the Golf Channel. Sports radio is always on in his car. He reads the sports section of the newspaper before anything else. The most recent book he read was about Derek Jeter. He plays tennis and golf whenever he can find the time. He’s always “checking the scores” on his iPhone. We have a rule (that I made) in our house.

We have a rule (that I made) in our house. No television during dinner time unless it’s the World Series, a major golf championship, or the Super Bowl. Tonight, the television was on during dinner.  I was fine with that.

Despite the television being on during dinner time, my husband didn’t try to get out of getting Isabelle ready for bed.  The television wasn’t on upstairs and his phone wasn’t out.  I finished up in the shower while he got her dried off and ready for bed, just like always.  By the time I arrived at her bedroom, I found the two of them snuggled up in her bed reading a picture book like it was any ol’ night of the year.  There was no conversation about bedtime routines, reading, and football.  My husband did what came naturally to him as a father… he just read a book aloud to his daughter.  I grabbed the phone out of his pocket as he read aloud to her since I knew I had to snap a picture of the two of them together so she will never doubt his devotion to her.

I may detest listening to sports radio on long car trips, but I love everything about his commitment to our family and to raising a literate human. I could not ask for more.

Head over to on Tuesday for more slices of life.
Head over to on Tuesday for more slices of life.


board books · meme · picture books · poetry · reading conveys love

More Books That Show Love!

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey and the kids’ version has been adapted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.

Last month I posted about a couple of books that convey love to a child.  Valentine’s Day is coming this week and I realized I hadn’t posted any additional titles.  Therefore, I’m posting two more today.  (While I’d like to post more, we’ve had some drama relating to a new router that we installed that’s been misbehaving.  During the router trouble, my keyboard tray broke off from my desk. Hence, I can’t sit at my desk to work on the computer for long periods of time since it’s just not comfortable.  My new keyboard tray cannot arrive fast enough.)  But I digress…

mommyhugsFirst, Mommy Hugs by Karen Katz is a giant board book I’ve enjoyed reading with my daughter for months now.  This book accounts for ten different times of day that moms and babies can exchange hugs with each other.  My daughter loves to read this book with me while snuggled on my lap.  (NOTE: Katz has a book especially for Valentine’s Day, Where Is Baby’s Valentine? A Lift-the-Flap Book, too.  I haven’t personally seen it, but as someone whose kid loves Katz’s books, I’m figuring it’s another good pick!)

I HAIKU YOU_COVERSecond, Betsy Snyder’s I Haiku You contains 20 haiku poems that focus around childhood friendship and things kids love.  It’s adorably illustrated and can serve as an inspiration for kids to craft their own Haiku poems.  Betsy wrote a guest blog post over at my other blog, Two Writing Teachers, last week.  She talked about how I Haiku You went from an idea to a project to a book.  Click here to read what she wrote and for a chance to win a copy of her book.

bedtime stories · OBSERVATIONS · picture books · reading conveys love

The Act of Reading Books to Children Shows How Much You Love Them

It’s almost 3 a.m. I’ve been up for about two hours listening to my daughter cough through the baby monitor. I’m tempted to go into her room to soothe her, but I know picking her up out of her crib, in which she is sleeping, is not the solution. Therefore, I listen and wait. Wait for her to wake up so I can do my motherly duty of comforting my sick baby.

Nancy’s post, “Kiss, Love, and Go,” got me thinking about the way we show our kids we love them.  Read it if you haven’t already.  At the end of her post I left a comment:

We must, must, must tell our children that we love them often (more than once a day).

My daughter isn’t speaking yet, but yesterday I asked her, “Do you know Mommy loves you?” She smiled and nodded with her head and her entire toddler body. I enveloped her in a bear hug and said some other sweet words (I don’t recall what they were.). She might not be able to tell me that she loves me back, but, by golly, she knows I love her. To me, that is everything right now. I’ve said it enough to get my point across, which means I will KEEP ON SAYING IT so she knows.

One of the many ways we can express our love for our children is through reading.  The simple act of taking time to read aloud to kids shows them we love them. It means spending time focusing on them, rather than on e-mails, phone calls, or television shows. If reading is one of the ways I can show my daughter I love her, then she must know that she’s adored because she’s surrounded by books!

night-you-were-bornWhat we read is important too.  For instance, last night before bedtime, I brought my daughter into my bedroom to read aloud to her.  She wasn’t feeling well, so I figured I’d treat her to a read aloud in our bed surrounded by her stuffed animals (who were brought in earlier in the afternoon when she needed to chill after her nap).  I selected a few picture books and let her choose the one she wanted to hear.  She choose On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman — twice.  (If you haven’t read this gem, then you’ll love it. It conveys one of the deepest messages of love in print.  It tells a child how special they are, which is why I’ve started buying it for my friends’ oldest children when they add another baby into their family. ) I think she choose this book not just because she loves the moon illustrations on each page, but because she can sense how adored she is when I read it to her.

awesomebkloveThere’s a new book, An Awesome Book of Love by Dallas Clayton, that came out last month.  I shared this one with Isabelle yesterday morning when we were snuggled up together in her play room.  I read it aloud for the first time and she loved it.  Clayton’s book has things she seems to adore in picture books these days: vivid illustrations and rhyme.  I like the irresistible message it conveys: our love binds us together forever. While the book can easily be for a significant other, it is yet another worthwhile read for a parent-child to experience together. After just one reading, I am confident this book is going to become a favorite just as On the Night You Were Born.

Valentine’s Day is a few weeks away. While I think it’s important to tell our loved ones how we feel all year long, I think I’ll devote a few more posts to “reading conveys love” in the next few weeks.  Therefore, more lovey-dovey titles Isabelle and I love will follow!